FRAMING: HOW TO FRAME A PAINTING?

     The word "framing" originates from French "baguette", which means "stick, lath". There are several types of framing depending on the material of construction, profile shape and features of surface finishing.
     Traditionally, framing is manufactured of wood. The most expensive, longeval and heavy picture frames are made of hardwood: oak, ash tree, pear tree, cherry tree.
     Glued pine and spruce bricks are used to manufacture lighter and cheaper framing. Wooden frames are usually used to frame original paintings held in permanent museum expositions and private interiors. 
    At present, inexpensive, lightweight, moisture-resistant frames of modern plastics become more and more popular, and in appearance they are as good as wooden frames. Significant defect of such framing is fragility of the material. Frequently the frame of a dropped-down frame made of such material breaks into small pieces and is beyond repair. Plastics framing is usually used to frame inexpensive art pieces, art prints as well as paintings demonstrated by artists at exhibitions. Such frames are handy for transportation and convenient for installing expositions. They are fairly priced, as extra "clothing" for a painting. 
      Another modern material for frame manufacturing is aluminium. Durable frames with glass made of narrow aluminium shapes with surface treatment of various types became widely popular for framing of drawings, photographs, illustrations, posters     
  

THE MAIN PROFILE SHAPES OF FRAMING


     Classic profile shape. The highest elevated point of classic-shaped framing is biased towards its edge external to the painting. The level difference is quite evident. This profile shape increases perspective effect, as if inviting the spectator's glance into an open window, creating "internal volume" effect. Such framing shape is well suitable for framing of traditional artistic style paintings. ==>

    

<== Inverted profile shape. As opposed to the classic shape, the thickness of a frame of inverted shape increases from the external to the internal edge (towards the painting), moving the image closer to the spectator. "External volume" effect is created, making the frame especially suitable for modern decorative artworks.



Composite profile shape. These universal framing shapes are used for widening of a frame. By combining external framing of inverted profile shape with internal insert of classic profile shape one can get wide classic shaped frame. ==>



<== Flat profile shape. The most simple-for-manufacturing shape with insignificant level difference and flat relief. Flat shape is compact, thus, flat framing is recommended for paintings which are modern in style and technique. 


A variation of flat profile shape is "box" form. The height of such framing significantly exceeds the width. This type of framing is used to frame large-sized paintings. ==>



<== Another variation of flat profile shape is slip. Slips are used as internal inserts to broaden frames made of ordinary classic profile shapes. 



Cabinet profile shape. One more variation of flat profile shape with protruding decorative elements at the external and internal edges. Universal, handy for transportation framing shape, widely used for picture framing. ==>

MOUNT


   Mount (French - passe-partout) is a special way of framing pictures under glass to protect them from external influences. For this purpose colour cardboard is used with size greater than that of the painting; a "window" for the image is cut out in the cardboard. Due to its thickness, cardboard protects the painting from touching the glass and serves as decoration. External framing is usually non-wide and simply decorated. 
    Cardboard can be single-colour (the face surface colour and the edge cut colour are the same) and coloured (the edge cut and the upper layer differ in colour), of various texture and with different coating: flax, velvet, silk, decorative films. Such variety makes mount the main method of dressing of small artworks on paper and cardboard, drawings, embroidery, photographs, etc... 

     Well, which framing or mount to choose? Here are some basic rules of paintings and drawings framing. 

FRAMING SELECTION RULES


   1. Framing and painting shall harmoniously supplement each other. The frame is matched to the painting, not to the interior. Real artworks have a certain artistic value and energy, live their own life for a long time, independently of the surrounding walls. But choosing frames for illustrations, posters, postcards according to the interior style makes sense. 
     2. Colour range of a frame shall match that of the painting. Paintings in warm colours are inserted into frames of warm hues, paintings in cold colours are inserted into frames of cold hues. Framing colour shall be halftone darker or lighter than the basic colour of the painting, or shall coincide with one of auxiliary colours of the image. In practice, frames of natural wood colour or dark bronze colour match any painting. 
     3. . Style, ornamental design or texture of a frame shall repeat the stylistics of the painting. Elegant lines of drawings will fit with modest frames without complicated decoration. Modern pastose paintings will look better in trendy frames, realistic paintings - in classic frames, avant-garde works - in modern glossy frames. 
     4. Framing width is proportional to the dimensions of the painting. But there are some exceptions to this rule. Sometimes large decorative canvas are intentionally inserted in narrow frames, advancing the image towards the spectator and drawing his/her attention to the surface of the painting. On the contrary, for small paintings an effective method is used when the painting is placed into a wide frame which area exceeds the area of the painting. The value or originality of the work is emphasized in such a way, focusing the spectator's glance in the centre.
     5. Do not forget of technical features of framing profile. Paintings at thick canvas-stretchers can significantly protrude at the inner side from the "quadruple" cavity in the frame. In this case, the canvas-stretcher can be too noticeable on the wall from a side view. Also, framing profile depth and lighting of the painting shall be considered, since deep frames throw large shadows on the image under sidelight.


                                                         MOUNT SELECTION RULES

   1. Mount colour shall be halftone darker or lighter than the prevailing colours of the image. Dark mounts will "move" the painting deep down, and light mounts will "advance" the painting forward and make it "shine".  
     2. . Mount size shall be proportional to the dimensions of the painting. The mount size is determined on the basis of the small side of the painting. Side fields are made equal and have size of 1/3 - 1/2 of the narrow side of the image. The upper field shall be approximately of the same size as the side ones. The lower field is a bit greater because of upper bias of optical centre of the image. The scheme of classic calculation of the width of the lower field of a mount is shown in the figures: where А=В=1/3 of the small side of the painting, the lower boundary of the image "window" passes through point О. The following recommendations are also available: for vertical images the upper field should be a bit larger than the side fields; for horizontal images the upper field should be less than the side ones; for square images the upper and the side fields are equal. Increase of mount field sizes is appropriate if wide framing is used, and also in special cases to emphasize individual peculiarities of the painting.
      3. The colour of a frame shall match that of the mount but not blend with it. Frequently, to give additional volume to the image, mount edge is supplemented with special narrow decorative strips (slips) repeating frame facing.
     
     In conclusion, the following should be added. All rules are invented for the purpose of making exceptions to them. The better a work of an artist is, the more reasons it has to be framed CONTRARY to the requirements of framing canons, emphasizing individuality of the painting. In many museums of the world one can see impressionist paintings well fit with wide classic frames. 
   
     An example of an interesting framing solution is the preparation of  exhibition of painting by Ivan KRUTOYAROV at the Council of Europe. . The exposition was displayed at large three-dimensional displays-mounts made of foam board being at the same time shipping package for the works. The same size and colour of displays, their dense hanging formed a single accented exhibition space independent of the surrounding interior. Black colour, dead surface and depth of the displays created contrast and additional volume effect for the images making even works in dark colours "shine" against black background. Wide lower field of the displays was used for paintings marking. Not the least of the factors is the same size of the displays, their small weight and features of the material which helped to solve easily the problem of safety of the works (including works on glass) during transportation from Moscow to Strasbourg.  

   
     At the workshop of Ivan KRUTOYAROV you can insert paintings in wooden frames manufactured in Italy, Spain, Russia.  
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