Italy was the center of frame making during the Renaissance and Italian frames came to be known for their fine craftsmanship and artistic beauty. The first frames were made for use in a religious context and tabernacle or aedicular frames were created for altarpieces. Molding frames were introduced for secular purposes in the 15th century and marked the beginning of framing as we know it today. The design of the cassetta, or “little box” frame, comprised of a flat panel or frieze with applied raised inner and outer moldings, would continue to be used throughout frame history.
Pastiglia / gesso duro – A molded composition material, made mainly of gesso and glue and then gilded, which was used in Italy during the Renaissance to create a raised continuous decoration in the frieze of a cassetta frame.