Framing the Human Experience

I’m not going to lie to you. When I decided to write a blog today about frames, I was skeptical about what I would find. How interesting can the history of framing really be? How did we, as a civilization, start framing the human experience? Well, apparently, framing is another world altogether and classically an art form in and of itself. From Egyptian portraits to where we are today in adorning our walls with loved ones and pets, there’s a rich history behind the glass.

No, I’m not puffing up framing to be the next kool-aid. It has been its own flavor for hundreds of years, if not just short of a millennia.

To start, the first frame was discovered in an Egyptian tomb, dating back to 2nd century A.D. Thankfully, due to the desert climate in which the frame was kept, it remained intact for its discovery at Hawara.

egyptian portrait csd framing carrollton tx

Mummy portraits, as they are called, were displayed in hundreds of tombs as a burial habit. They often depicted the deceased from the shoulders or head upwards. The Egyptian portraits were largely discovered in the 17th century by Italian explorer Pietro Della Valle. Since, they have been a huge resource for historians when it comes to unveiling the culture of both the Egyptians and Romans.

From their hair to their makeup and apparel, these Egyptian portraits were the first look at a civilization that once dominated a huge portion of planet Earth. That’s in both in numbers and ideology. Unfortunately, changes in religion and financial status put the burial habit figuratively into the grave by the end of the 4th century.

If you think about it, we enjoy framing every single day in our lives. So many projects and ideas begin and end with framing. For example, we frame our lives around our ideals, frame our houses with wood and brick, frame the objects that surround us on a daily basis to be appealing, within reach, or what have you. Moreover, I would argue that we are constantly framing something. Even this paragraph is a frame.

I’m going to step back from my philosophical whimsies. Framing has been an important physical and metaphysical part of human existence, albeit unnoticed at times. And then it flares back up with cultural changes, only to be bogged down again and again by other rising trends.

Martin Kotler of the Smithsonian describes his grief in the lack of honor given to the profession and hobby: “How many people have taken an art history class? Now how many times have they seen a frame or discussed one in it?”

He may be a bit eccentric, but he has a point.

In my next CSD Framing blog, I dive into more specifics about what I’m talking about. As with any art, words can only express so much, in such little time. And there’s a lot more to talk about.


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