I am always fascinated by the plethora of gilding techniques that are employed in both frame and fine art water gilding. On recent trip to the National Gallery in Copenhagen, I discovered some familiar techniques and learned about some new tricks of the trade.
Even in my early years of visiting museums, I have always garnered nervous looks from the guards, as I examine the paintings from a few inches away. Over the years those looks of concern have turned into puzzled expressions, as I take up close shots of areas of painting and/or frames that seem insignificant to the average museum visitor.
While I have seen a large variety of gilding tricks and techniques, I discovered a new color illusion on a set of frames. I learned that in the absence of blue pigments, the black pigment gained from burning oil called Lamp Black was manipulated to create an illusion that made the black appear blue. By placing the Lamp Black next to a rich red bole, the color interplay creates the illusion of a dark blue hue.
Just when I thought I had seen the most over the top frame carving techniques, I stumble upon this face, carved into the side of a picture frame. The best part of the representation of the face, is that it does not draw away from the imagery on the canvas. Like a gargoyl on the side of a building: a beautiful sculpture that does not distract from the architecture.