Picture frame gilding is an art form that has been around for centuries. It is the process of applying a thin layer of gold leaf or gold paint to a frame to enhance its beauty and value. Gilded picture frames are often seen in art galleries, museums, and stately homes, but they can also be found in private homes and offices. In this blog, we will explore the art of picture frame gilding and its history.
The art of gilding frames dates to ancient Egypt, where gold was used to decorate the tombs of pharaohs. The Greeks and Romans also used gold to embellish their art and architecture. However, it was during the Renaissance period that picture frame gilding became popular in Europe. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael used gilded frames to showcase their paintings and give them a sense of grandeur.
Picture frame gilding involves several steps, including preparing the frame, applying the gold leaf or gold paint, and burnishing or finishing the surface. The first step is to prepare the frame by sanding it down and applying a layer of gesso, which is a white primer made from glue and chalk. This creates a smooth and even surface for the gold to adhere to.
Next, the gold leaf or gold paint is applied to the frame. Gold leaf is made by hammering gold into thin sheets, which are then cut into small squares or rectangles. The gold leaf is then applied to the frame using a special adhesive. Gold paint, on the other hand, is a liquid paint that contains small particles of gold. It can be applied with a brush or spray gun.
After the gold has been applied, the frame is left to dry. Once the gold is dry, the surface is burnished or polished to create a smooth and reflective finish. Burnishing can be done with a burnishing tool or a soft cloth.
Picture frame gilding can be done in several different styles, including water gilding, oil gilding, and patina gilding. Water gilding involves applying gold leaf to a surface that has been coated with a layer of gesso and bole, which is a red or yellow clay-like substance. The gold leaf is then burnished to create a shiny, reflective surface. Oil gilding, on the other hand, involves applying gold paint to a surface that has been coated with a layer of oil-based adhesive. Patina gilding involves applying a layer of gold leaf or gold paint to a surface that has been treated with a patina solution, which gives the surface an aged or antique look.
Overall, picture frame gilding is an art form that has been used for centuries to enhance the beauty and value of art and decorative objects. The process involves several steps, including preparing the surface, applying the gold, and burnishing or finishing the surface. Picture frame gilding can be done in several different styles, each with its own unique look and feel. Whether you are a collector, artist, or decorator, gilded picture frames are a beautiful and timeless addition to any home or office.