Assessing Old Master artwork condition. Part III — frames

Essential guide to making right purchasing decisions when buying art online

All that glitters is not gold

Some pictures were initially designed for altars or other compositions and were never meant to have a proper frame and be hung on a wall
The National Gallery video about choosing a new frame to Artemisia self-portrait
Left & center — discrepancies in molding juncture; right — integral frame from another painting cut to fit a smaller canvas and this way compromised in original ornament

This type of framing doesn’t add any value to the old master work of art simply because it doesn’t come from the same epoch as the painting itself.

Rich and skillful baroque, rococo and neoclassical frames
18th-century original VS 19th-century imitation
Original minimalistic frames of the second half of the 19th century

This is always a good thing when all the parts of an artwork come from one epoch and this way enforce one another and significantly add to the overall value of a painting.

Left — red underpaint emerging on gilded frame surface; right — gilded lateral sides of the same frame
Ungilded ornamented frame (source)
Left — oval-shaped portrait in original frame; right (source) — oval-shaped portrait relined onto rectangular canvas and put into rectangular frame (taken from another painting)

Trust, but verify

Art is a never ending journey of discovery. Good luck to those entering this path.

My name is Marina Viatkina and I am an art history writer and collecting advisor. You may read my other art-related articles, watch videos or reach out to discuss this blog and address your art enquiries here or on my website



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Marina Viatkina

Art | History Writer & Collecting Advisor → | Founder of Smart Art — Art History Escape app →