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Old 06-11-03, 09:45 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Default Framing Altarpieces and Other Multi-Panel Works

Does anybody have information on how to frame two or more works in the same framework, as was done with the old altarpieces (i.e. one central piece and several under or beside it, all in the same frame)?

If I could just have a starting point, I'm sure I could manage, but I don't even know where to start. Framers? Museums? Who knows how to do this?
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Old 02-12-05, 06:18 PM
Rosemary Rosemary is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Seattle, WA U.S.A.
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Default tabernacles

I don't know if you are talking about tabernacles or some other arrangement but I found a great analysis of the process of painting a 1300 egg tempera in a book entitled "Techniques of the Worlds Great Painters" with Waldemar Januszczak as editor. Published by Chartwell books in 1980. There is a step by step analysis of The Virgin and Child with Saints Dominic and Aurea, from the Duccio de Buoninsegna studio. According to this account, the carpentry was done by a carpenter which was in a different guild than the artists. The raw wood frame would be delivered to Duccio's shop which would correct any faults in the wood, size the wood and possibly cover the whole thing in linen or only the joints in linen. This was then covered with up to 8 coats of gesso, beginning with gesso grosso and finishing with gesso sottile.

The gesso was polished to an ivory like smoothness and the main areas of the drawing were incised with a fine line. The background outside the line and probably the raised frame part as well was covered with several coats of red bole and gilded. (gold really llikes to stick to egg tempera when gilding!) The painting of the image was done last. The painting method is analyzed as well and the book has some great closeups of details inclding embossing of the gold halo and fine line work of gold outlining robes.

I have been wanting to do one of these for some time, but have been waiting until I could find a place to build the frame. I have remodeled my garage so that I can attempt it myself as finding a good cabinetmaker is hard and expensive. I am thinking of constructing the thing of 1 cm baltic birch plywood and looking for a couple oval wood frames that I could chop up to make the curved parts of the top of the frame for the panel inside and out.

Clearly this would be a labor of love, as it takes a lot to do to even get to the painting stage. Good luck with your project and I would like to know how it goes.
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Old 03-12-05, 07:17 PM
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DLH DLH is offline
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Tell us more about your project. How do the paintings relate to each other? Do you imagine elaborate or simple frames? I have one thought. In the triptychs below I drew the first as though there were three separately framed pieces joined together. The divisions between the paintings become twice as large as the border. In the second example I’ve drawn the separate “frames” narrower and surrounded them by another. This still keeps the paintings distinct yet unified. The feeling could be enhanced by, say, making the inner frames beveled and inset while the outer is square and proud.


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