15th-21st Century Picture Frames in Europe (US time zone)

This online course presents half a millennium of European picture framing by discussing the history of frame styles in connection to architecture, painting, and the decorative arts. In five afternoon sessions, we review the history of picture frames: from the international Gothic style to the Italian and Northern Renaissance, via the Dutch Golden Age and the French frame styles into 19th and 20th-century framing. The participants will be shown tools for distinguishing styles and periods of frame manufacture. This online course serves first-time learners and professionals needing to refresh their knowledge.

Tuesday, September 10, 2024

Late Medieval picture framing was influenced by architecture and illuminated manuscripts. Paintings and frames formed designed units, often emphasized by extending the pictorial space with trompe l’oeil painting on frames. The interplays between Gothic and Renaissance influences resulted in gradual transitions of frame shapes and profiles until the Iconoclasms finally ended the medieval frame styles.

Thursday, September 12, 2024

Italian art and architecture led to European frame designs during the 16th and 17th centuries. Renaissance frame profiles evolved in the Lowlands and eventually became more refined by embellishing with highly polished ebony, fruitwood, and even whalebone veneers, sometimes combined with Southern German ripple molding techniques.

Tuesday, September 17, 2024

The flamboyant Italian influences on woodcarving continued in 17th-century Europe, particularly in France and Holland. The Dutch Golden Age produced baroque frames and cartouches, including classicist, trophy, and auricular-style frames. The post-1685 Huguenot exodus from France paradoxically increased the French influence on the European decorative arts, including picture frames.

Thursday, September 19, 2024

The French decorative arts were renowned for their exceptional aesthetic and technical refinements during the reigns of Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. Mold-made ornamentation began in Paris during the early 1700s, which would eventually lead to industrialized frame-making. French frame styles influenced frame styles for three centuries in England, Europe, and North America.

Tuesday, September 24, 2024

Empire frames with purely mold-made ornaments were followed by a dazzling variety of 19th-century neo-styles frames, like Biedermeier, Neo-Rococo, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Classical, Eclectic, and Barbizon frames. Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau frames were contrasted to industrialization, while 20th-century Art Deco and Minimalist framing echoed modernism. During the 20th and 21st centuries, museum re-framing has changed from less informed approaches to studying original framing.


Target audience: Students and beginning/advanced professionals in art history or the conservation of paintings and picture frames.

Participants: Maximum of 20. After registration, you will be asked to provide a brief CV and motivation for enrolling in this course.

Times (in daylight savings time):

  • San Francisco 10:00am-12:00 noon
  • Chicago 12:00 noon-2:00 pm
  • New York 1:00-3:00 pm
  • London 6:00-8:00 pm
  • Amsterdam 7:00-9:00 pm

Course Dates

September 10-24, 2024 (CONFIRMED TO RUN AND FULL)

Course Fee


Early Registration



Hubert Baija

About the Instructor

Hubert Baija is a specialist in gilding conservation, historical technology, and picture frame history who taught and trained many conservation students and mid-career professionals. After three decades as a senior conservator at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, he continues practical restoration work, serves as a consultant with institutions and collectors worldwide, and does Ph.D. research at the University of Amsterdam.

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