Framing the Frame Blog

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), Professor Henry Rowland, 1897.

I remember going on a tour of an art museum once when, towards the end of the tour, the docent asked if anyone had any questions. One of the people on the tour, motioned towards the ornate gilded frames and asked about where they came from. The docent grimaced and I could tell that she thought this was a stupid question.

Giovanni Bellini, the Frari Triptych, 1488.

It’s not. It turns out that most artists of the past gave a lot of thought to the frames, often coming up with their own designs or collaborating with highly specialized woodworkers. I know about this though my discovery of a deliriously detailed and meticulously researched jewel of the internet: The Frame Blog. The blog is run by frame historian, Lynn Roberts and has over 45 contributors.

Don’t believe how important frames are? Just look at this post to see what happens when the frames go missing. And Roberts also likes to point out how important it is to include the frames when paintings are reproduced online or in books.

To go meta on this, the post-modernist in me thinks it’s important to look at the frames we put around everything, not just art. And, practically, I’ve been trying to make some of my own frames lately with a table saw jig and Frame Blog has been a source of inspiration (and humility as my frames look like they were made by Fred Flintstone by comparison).

The Frame Blog is one of the few gilded nodes on the internet’s tarnished tubes.

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  1. Eric – Thanks for linking to this interesting blog on frames. And the links on it’s website are pretty nice, too.

  2. Whoa! Those are some works of art around those works of art!!

    I’ve spent much time lately–as I am navigating an existential wobble–thinking about the metaphorical lenses through which people view and interact with the world–this strikes me as related to metaphorical frames.

  3. Well, thank you! – what incredibly nice compliments.

    I hope that you continue to enjoy The Frame Blog, for as long I I avoid running out of topics, or (touch wood) contributors.

    • Thank you! Your blog has provided practical inspiration for my frame building efforts.

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