The art of frame making has an extensive and rich history. Around the 13th century painted bands were taped around frescoes serving as a frame. This way of framing continued up to the first representations painted on panel where the ledges often acted as the frame.
During the 14th century frames developed into real architectural sculptures, carved in the same way as the painted wooden panels and were often used as altarpieces. The painting and the frame were so entwined that it was hard to see where one stopped and the other began.
They soon discovered that constructing a frame apart from its painting would benefit the conservation of the painting in the long run. As a result, during the 15th century, the architectonical character of frame making gradually disappeared and made way for separate, smooth, gilded and painted mouldings; yet still under the strict supervision of the artists themselves, who often furnished the frames with additional painted words and other fine details.
During the 16th century, Renaissance artists, especially in Italy, returned to constructing real pieces of art, where frames would match the painting inside. Artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo even took it a step further and designed their own frames to fit their art. They hired the best wood carvers they could find to carry out their ambitious designs. This particular period characterizes the beginning of a new and fundamental way of framing that we see in the centuries that followed.