GOLD: Christmas At The National Gallery – Framing Gold

To mark the month of December, ChasingART traveled virtually to The National Gallery to view Stories of Gold. This marvelous collection of videos came out in 2017 to celebrate this special time of year.

The third video answers the question:  How frames add beauty to an artwork?


Sebastiano del Piombo incorporating designs by Michelangelo The Raising of Lazarus 1517-19 Oil on canvas, transferred from wood, 381 x 289.6 cm Bought, 1824 NG1 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG1

Gilding a frame is an art form. It is a time-honored technique used by the National Gallery, and one that requires careful preparation and patience. The National Gallery has a framing department that works tirelessly to find the perfect frame for the artwork. The frames are restored and repaired using the same techniques as 500 years ago.  There are strict protocols for the care and maintenance of the frames.

Lorenzo Veneziano The Madonna of Humility with Saints Mark and John about 1366-70 Egg tempera on poplar, 31.3 x 57.5 cm Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924 NG3897 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG3897

Join me for a fascinating tour of the workings of The National Gallery framing department.


Italian, Florentine The Virgin and Child with Saints probably 1450-1500 Tempera on wood, 69.9 x 69.9 cm Bought, 1885 NG1199 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG1199
GOLD Christmas at the National Gallery

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

11 thoughts on “GOLD: Christmas At The National Gallery – Framing Gold

  1. The art of gilding the masterpieces is indeed fascinating, an art form in itself. I often wondered seeing all the gold frames in our closest art museum if that was just paint. I can’t imagine how some smaller museums can afford the lengthy and expensive process for all those frames! I’ll certainly look closer the next visit. I was quite taken with Piombo’s Lazarus, so I watched the curator’s entire video about it. An art history lesson in itself, which includes the masters’ rivalries and techniques. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew that you would enjoy this video, Liz. I watch this “Gold at Christmas”collection every Christmas since it first came out in 2017. It has become a tradition. What happens behind the scenes at an art gallery is fascinating!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, this is fabulous! I hadn’t thought about framing all of the masterpieces.
    This would be a great craft/career area to go into in the future. I doubt that AI or robots would have the subtleties of the abilities needed.
    Robots don’t have hair… that secretes just enough oil to begin the gilding.
    What a fabulous & honourable profession.
    Thank you, Rebecca!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Robots don’t have hair!!!” So true. I loved that part when the artist used her face oil to begin the gilding. I am delighted that you joined me, Resa, at the National Gallery. Your thoughts on AI resonated. I have been reading a great deal about AI in art as well as AI in science, medicine and in general. This will be a debate that will be front and centre in 2023 and beyond. Technology offers us benefits, but also challenges us to engage in a spirited and honest debate about human creativity.

      Liked by 2 people

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