Hanging Paper

July 5th, 2009 Comments Off on Hanging Paper

Although it’s rare to see drawings displayed in paintings before the 17th century, there are visual clues as to how paper could be appended to walls. For smaller sheets of paper, dabs of red sealing wax, as in this portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, anchor paper to wall.

Hans Holbein the Younger | Portrait of Georg Gisze (Detail) | Oil on Panel | 1532 | Staatliche Museen | Berlin |

Hans Holbein the Younger | Portrait of Georg Gisze (Detail) | Oil on Panel | 1532 | Staatliche Museen | Berlin

Hans Holbein the Younger | Portrait of Georg Gisze | Oil on Wood Panel | 1532 | Staatliche Museen | Berlin

Hans Holbein the Younger | Portrait of Georg Gisze | Oil on Wood Panel | 1532 | Staatliche Museen | Berlin

For larger pieces of paper, such as maps, the paper would be affixed to a linen backing and then both hung and weighted with a rod, as in this Vermeer painting in Amsterdam.

Johannes Vermeer | Woman Reading A Letter | 1662-63 | Rijkmuseum |Amsterdam

Johannes Vermeer | Woman Reading A Letter | 1662-63 | Rijkmuseum | Amsterdam

The map in Vermeer’s painting was made from a few sheets of paper joined together. Paper molds were never longer than arm’s length and so for large projects many sheets would be fastened together.

I just visited the Museo Horne in Florence and saw this 1590 woodcut by Andrea Andreani based on a Domenico Beccafumi design. The woodcut is made up of eight sheets and is framed, but not matted. It appears to be varnished and the frame has no glazing. I haven’t found out when this was framed, but this type of framing, treating the woodcut as if it were a painting, dates back to the early 16th century, when Jacopo de’ Barbari, Dürer, and Titian introduced giant multiple sheet woodcuts.

P1020204

Andrea Andreani after Domenico Beccafumi | Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law | Woodcut | 1590 | Museo Horne | Florence

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