Framed: The Art of the Picture Frame

Exhibit Details

March 21 - September 27, 2020
Eldredge, Spratlen, and Armstrong Galleries 

Picture frames are as varied as the paintings they surround.  They can range from the simplest wooden strip nailed along a canvas edge to layers upon layers of intricately carved and molded designs.  Framing professionals follow many rules to protect and enhance the artwork, however, beyond that, the aesthetic art of picture framing can be subjective allowing for individual style and taste. 

Pictures with framed borders have been discovered in Egyptian tombs as early as the 1st century AD. By the 12th century, it was typical to find frames built in place and attached to church altar pieces. Framing for portable pictures has evolved since the 15th century and by the 17th century, it was common to find flat frames with carved decoration in the average home.

The Springfield Art Museum’s permanent collection contains a wide variety of frames, both historic and contemporary. This exhibit utilizes the collection to demonstrate frame styles and trends covering both hand-carved and mass-produced molded ornament frames, as well as to illustrate the important role of framing in conserving and preserving artwork.

This exhibition was guest curated by Cindy Quayle, Exhibitions Manager, Springfield Art Museum.

Exhibit Resources

Tour the Virtual Exhibition

View the Exhibition Preview Video

View the Photo Album

Program Details


a gold gilt frame, inside the frame is the text "Framed" with a banner below that says "the