Acanthus and Reed

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Looking for a great place to study picture frames?

A Sunday afternoon in a picture gallery

I always appreciate the compliments I get for the selection of frame samples we have in our showroom; but frame samples only tell a small part of the story. The best way to see gorgeous frames is around beautiful works of art. That is why, whenever I need a frame fix, I march over to my local museum. I'm lucky of course, my local museum is the Metropolitan Museum of Art; but fortunately, we have first rate museums all over the country and all over the world.

Want to study the history and the origins of design in picture frames? Most museums arrange their collections in chronological order. During the late Middle Ages, religious paintings on panels became the foundation for church altars and private chapels. These stunning examples of architectural picture framing can be seen in the Italian collections of historical museums. With the Renaissance, art took on a more natural form with scenes from daily life and the personal portraits of the newly minted rich. These glamorous portraits demanded equally important frames that were secular by design.

Follow the progression in style from 16c. Italian and Spanish frames through the reigns of the Habsburgs and their French counterparts. Study the dark Ebonized finishes of Northern Europe and the elaborate carvings in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. As each gallery leads to another period you see how much society and current events inform frame design. The 19th century and the industrial revolution brought new technologies to picture framing we are still using and improving upon today.

Museums are not just great houses of art; they are also great places to see how to frame and display art. Visit your local museum and spend an afternoon in the best frame shop in town.

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Just a few Museum links:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The National Gallery of Art

The Louvre

Uffizi Gallery

Kunsthistorisches Museum

American Association of Museums