Frames in the Low Countries, Germany and Austria: spanning the period from the 16th to the 19th centuries


Simple architectural molding frames used for altar pieces from Germany and Austria are not unlike those of southern Europe, but joinery and decorations differ in accordance to their traditions. Small-scale altar pieces and portraiture in the 15th and 16th centuries were framed in a variety of simple moldings.

The Italian Cassetta frame was used with some modifications throughout Central and Northern Europe in the 15th, 16th, and the first part of the 17th century. This interest in natural woods continued in the black molding frames of late 16th century Holland, where they were used for more than 100 years. Frames of this type were often veneered with exotic woods, and thus rosewood, and ebony became popular by mid-century. Gilding on the inner lip was a later addition. Styles similar to the Dutch frames were used in Flanders, Germany, and Austria. In these, the wave trim and basket weave carvings were used more, often covering most of the surface. Italian- style leaf frame with traces of the Sansovino and Florentine Auricular have existed since the first half of the 17th century in Holland. They came to be known as the Lutma frames, after Janus Lutma, a Dutch goldsmith whose designs combined these styles After the 18th century, frames were manufactured by the composition process, and Gustav Klimt, Jan van Toroop, and Franz von Stuck were the first to react to the manufactured frame by designing their own.

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