Spanish Frames: Spanning the period from the 17th to the 18th centuries


Spanish frames did not depart from designs that were directly derived from the Italians until their cultural peak in the 17th century. The 16th century examples were usually simple and flat Italian profiles, mostly in black finishes. The 17th century, with the artistic Spanish birth also came the development of their own frames, but now a Spanish flavor was branded in them. Stylistic changes arrived late in Spain, but they lasted longer there than the rest of Europe.

With Spain’s inclination towards the flamboyant, carvings became larger and bolder. The natural result was a very sculptural ornament. Decorations were heavier looking and the gold used had a brown tone to it. Scrolled acanthus leaves were used to adorn the corners in high relief. Elaborate bulinatura, sgrafitto, and polychrome techniques were often used as enhancements. Drama and color were pure Spanish developments that changed depending on the region. Provincial designs added personal touches and were more popular here than in the rest of Europe. Spain produced the richest stylistic variety of frames of the 17th and 18th centuries.

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