We see framed wall art everywhere we go. It can be simple photo frames or extravagant Victorian gold-plated antique frames. Frames have a benefit and a purpose. by understanding what these are we can make great choices in wall art and become good stewards as we purchase art work.
"Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is in the frame." - G.K. Chesterton
This is a famous quote that many have used over time for a variety of reasons. To understand this quote, we need to understand the writer. G. K. Chesterton was an English writer in the early 1900’s. He is often referred to as the “prince of paradox”.
“Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories - first carefully turning them inside out." Time magazine.
In the world of literary art, Chesterton was brilliant and contributed greatly to the culture of the day. As you can see, his remarkable skills are still influencing ideas and thoughts we have today.
So, IS…the frame the most beautiful part of every picture?
Yes, but not for why we would think. Maybe a better way to state this is: “It’s the frame that brings focus to the art work; therefore it is beautiful”.
It’s not the frame itself. It’s the frame that gives focus to the art. Just like we need borders, or rules, in our daily life to keep us going in the right direction, framed wall art takes advantage of borders (frames) to emphasis the art.
The frame helps the eye to see the art, to understand it without distraction. Think about it, if we didn't have a frame, our eyes may tend to wander and float all around the room.
Is…a frame necessary…required?
A frame is not “required” for every type of wall art. Wall art comes in so many interesting forms, types, styles, and for many different purposes.
But there are certain features and definite reasons to include a frame that you should consider.
Here are some important reasons for a frame:
Consider this simple portrait. The one on the left has great features and matting. The one on the right adds a frame.
Pay attention to your eyes. The sample on your right draws your eyes directly and immediately to the portrait. It’s almost hard not to stare at the portrait.
You don’t “notice” the frame. The frame is very nice and fits the image style, but it doesn’t draw attention to itself. (By the way the portrait image is the same size in both samples!)
Think of the frame: it contains finished features of glass or acrylic, sealed backing, and hanging hardware. It’s like a safe deposit box!
Your favorite art is protected on all sides from handling, scratches, tears, dust, and light. You are able to enjoy it and can confidently share it with anyone without the worry of damage to the art. Whew, that’s a relief!
Look at the design diagram above. There are strategic plans and materials that go into protecting and preserving a photo to create lasting and beautiful wall art. The framing plans aren't just for “looks” - the bigger purpose is protection and preservation.
This is probably the most valuable benefit of a frame. Your framed wall art has value and it is a great benefit to be able to preserve that value for years to come!
We've all heard the term archival…as in archival paper, archival mats, archival fabric, archival adhesives, archival frames, and many others. Archival materials matter for the purposes of preservation. Professional Custom Picture Framers know the science and have the training to follow certain protocols when they are hired to frame a work of art or a favorite photo.
In framed wall art, even the glass or “glazing” as it is properly termed has preservation factors. Whether it’s glass or acrylic covering your art, it plays a part in protecting from light’s damaging effects.
Consider this statement from Tru-Vue, makers of high quality framing materials:
“Anti-reflection picture framing glass with Conservation Grade UV Protection is the best glazing option available for art, photographs and other important personal keepsakes. Along with its nearly invisible finish, it effectively blocks up to 99% of harmful indoor and outdoor UV light rays so framed pieces remain clearer and brighter for longer.”
It's good to understand the frame - to know that it has a great purpose and fantastic benefits (besides looking nice).
We don't typically think about protection or preservation when choosing framed wall art - we choose for the image, or color, or inspiration, or other qualities. The frame is our added insurance - a great hidden value that never focuses on itself.
Adding framed wall art to your home or office is a smart and safe idea. And, it will stand the test of time as a bonus!