The Art of Picture Framing

In this blog post, we will explore the rich history of picture framing, reflecting the changing tastes and styles of different cultures over time. From Renaissance gold leaf frames to modern designs, framing has evolved with art.

Origins of Picture Framing

Ancient Egyptians created the earliest example of picture framing by bordering their paintings and murals with decorative wooden frames. They would often paint or carve intricate designs onto these frames to reflect their aesthetic preferences of the time.

During medieval Europe, people began to use framing for a more functional purpose by enclosing art and other precious objects within wooden boxes or cabinets to protect them. These early frames were typically simple and utilitarian, with little emphasis placed on ornamentation.

During the Renaissance, however, framing began to take on a more decorative role. During the Italian Renaissance, people started to use ornate, gilded frames that aimed to complement and enhance the beauty of the artwork they enclosed. These frames often featured elaborate carvings, intricate moldings, and other decorative elements that reflected the artistic style of the time.

The 19th and 20th Centuries

In the 19th century, framing underwent another transformation as artists began to experiment with new styles and techniques. The Arts and Crafts movement, which emerged in the late 19th century, emphasized the importance of traditional craftsmanship and sought to revive the art of handcrafted picture frames.

During this time, frames became more varied in their designs and materials. Ornate gold leaf frames were still popular, but simpler, more naturalistic designs also became fashionable. New materials such as brass, copper, and silver were also used to create frames that reflected the changing tastes and styles of the time.

In the 20th century, framing continued to evolve alongside art itself. The modernist movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, emphasized simplicity and minimalism, and this aesthetic influenced the design of picture frames as well. Simple, geometric designs in materials such as steel and aluminum became popular, reflecting the industrial materials and processes of the time.

The Rise of DIY Framing

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards DIY framing, as more and more people seek to create their own custom frames for their artwork and photographs. This trend has been driven in part by the availability of information and supplies online, as well as by the desire to save money on framing costs.

DIY framing allows people to create unique and personalized frames that reflect their individual style and tastes. It also provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, as people learn new skills and create something with their own hands.

Of course, there are also potential pitfalls to DIY framing, including the risk of damaging valuable artwork or using inappropriate materials that could lead to deterioration over time. Professional framing services still play an important role in the industry, particularly for more complex projects or for those who lack the time or expertise to frame their own work.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Frame

No matter how you choose to frame your artwork or photographs, it is important to consider the impact that the frame can have on the overall presentation and perception of the piece.

The right frame can enhance the beauty and impact of your artwork, drawing the viewer’s eye and providing a sense of coherence and unity to the piece. On the other hand, the wrong frame can detract from the artwork, obscuring its beauty and distracting the viewer from its true value.

When choosing a frame, it is important to consider the style and subject matter of the artwork, as well as the colors, textures, and materials used. A frame that complements the artwork can enhance its beauty and create a cohesive presentation, while a frame that clashes or competes with the artwork can detract from its value.

Professional framing services can help you choose the right frame for your artwork, offering expertise in design, materials, and techniques that can enhance the beauty and longevity of your pieces. They can also provide valuable guidance on issues such as conservation and preservation, helping to protect your artwork for future generations.


The history of art and picture framing reflects the changing tastes and styles of different cultures over time, as well as the evolution of technology and materials. From the ornate gold leaf frames of the Renaissance to the sleek, modern designs of today, framing has evolved alongside art itself, reflecting the creativity and ingenuity of human culture.

Whether you choose to frame your artwork professionally or take on the challenge of DIY framing, it is important to consider the impact that the frame can have on the overall presentation and perception of the piece. By choosing the right frame, you can enhance the beauty and impact of your artwork, creating a cohesive and compelling presentation that reflects your unique style and tastes.

So whether you are looking for the perfect frame for your cherished family photographs or seeking to showcase your own artwork, take the time to explore the rich history and possibilities of picture framing, and discover the beauty and creativity that lies within.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the topic of the History of Framing:

Q: What is the history of art framing?

A: The history of art framing dates back to ancient times when artists would use simple wooden frames to display their artwork. However, it wasn’t until the Renaissance period in Europe that framing began to take on a more decorative and ornate role. During this time, frames were often made of wood and adorned with intricate carvings, gold leaf, and other embellishments. As art styles evolved and new materials became available, framing techniques continued to change and adapt, leading to the wide range of framing options available today.


Q: When did picture framing become popular?

A: Picture framing began to gain popularity in the 16th century during the Renaissance period when art was viewed as a luxury item and framing became an essential part of the presentation of a work of art. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that picture framing became more widely available and accessible to the general public. This was largely due to the growth of the middle class and the increased demand for art as a form of decoration in the home.

Q: What materials are used in picture framing?

A: Picture framing can be made from a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and composite materials. The choice of materials often depends on the style and purpose of the frame, as well as the budget and preferences of the individual. Common materials used in picture framing include hardwoods such as oak, cherry, and walnut, as well as metals like aluminum and steel. In addition, specialty materials like acrylic and museum-grade glass are often used to protect and preserve valuable or delicate artwork.

Q: What is DIY framing?

A: DIY framing refers to the practice of framing artwork or photographs at home using materials and tools that are readily available to the general public. DIY framing can be a cost-effective way to display artwork, as it eliminates the need to hire a professional framer. However, DIY framing also requires a certain level of skill and expertise, as well as access to specialized tools and equipment.

Q: What are the benefits of professional framing services?

A: Professional framing services offer a range of benefits, including expertise in design, materials, and techniques that can enhance the beauty and longevity of the artwork. Professional framers can provide valuable guidance on issues such as conservation and preservation, helping to protect artwork for future generations. In addition, professional framing services can provide access to a wide range of framing materials and styles, allowing individuals to find the perfect frame to complement their artwork.

Q: How has technology impacted picture framing?

A: Technology has had a significant impact on the world of picture framing, particularly in the development and techniques that have revolutionized the industry. For example, advances in computerized mat cutting and printing technologies have made it possible to create intricate and customized mats and frames with greater precision and efficiency than ever before. In addition, the rise of online framing services has made it easier for individuals to access a wider range of framing options and services, regardless of their location.

Q: How has picture framing evolved over time?

A: Picture framing has evolved significantly over time, from simple wooden frames to the wide range of materials, styles, and techniques available today. As art styles and techniques have changed, so too have framing options, with new materials and designs emerging to complement the latest trends. In addition, the growing popularity of digital photography and artwork has led to new framing challenges and opportunities, such as the need for specialized materials and techniques to protect and display digital prints and canvases.

Q: What should I consider when choosing a picture frame?

A: When choosing a picture frame, there are several factors to consider, including the style and purpose of the artwork, the room in which it will be displayed, and personal preferences in terms of materials, colors, and designs. In addition, it’s important to consider factors such as conservation and preservation, particularly for valuable or delicate artwork. A professional framer can provide valuable guidance and advice on all of these issues, helping individuals to select the perfect frame for their artwork.

Q: How can I care for and maintain my picture frames?

A: To care for and maintain your picture frames, it’s important to clean them regularly with a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and debris. Avoid using water or harsh chemicals, which can damage the frame and the artwork inside. In addition, it’s important to protect your frames from exposure to direct sunlight, which can cause fading and damage over time. For valuable or delicate artwork, it’s also a good idea to have the frame periodically inspected and maintained by a professional framer.

Q: Is it possible to reuse or repurpose picture frames?

A: Certainly, one can often reuse or repurpose picture frames for different artworks or purposes. For instance, it’s possible to display a photograph in a frame that previously held a painting, or use a vintage frame as a decorative element in a new room or setting. In addition, some people enjoy using old frames in DIY projects, such as creating a gallery wall or upcycling the frames into new pieces of furniture or decor. However, it’s important to note that not all frames are suitable for all types of artwork or purposes, and it’s important to consult with a professional framer before repurposing a frame to ensure that it will provide adequate support and protection for the new artwork.

Q: Is it possible to frame artwork myself?

A: Yes, it is possible to frame artwork yourself using DIY framing kits or materials. However, it’s important to note that framing requires a certain level of skill and expertise, particularly when it comes to selecting appropriate materials, measuring and cutting the mat and frame, and properly securing the artwork within the frame. Improper framing can lead to damage or degradation of the artwork over time, so it’s important to educate yourself on the proper techniques and materials before attempting DIY framing. Alternatively, many professional framing services offer DIY options or workshops where individuals can learn the basics of framing and receive guidance and support throughout the process.

Q: How much does picture framing typically cost?

A: The cost of picture framing can vary widely depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the artwork, the type and quality of materials used, and the level of customization and service required. Basic framing for a standard-sized print or photograph can start at around $50, while custom or high-end framing for a large or complex piece of artwork can cost several hundred dollars or more. It’s important to consult with a professional framer to get an accurate estimate of the cost for your specific framing needs.

Q: How can I find a reputable picture framing service?

A: When searching for a reputable picture framing service, research, ask for recommendations, and look for quality work and satisfied customers. Choose a service that specializes in the type of artwork or framing needed and ask for references or examples of previous projects. Finally, be sure to choose a framing service that provides clear communication, transparent pricing, and a guarantee of satisfaction.


Exit mobile version