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Florentine Art Plaques

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Florentine wall art has been around for hundreds of years. When it first developed in the 14th & 15th centuries, in and around the Florence region of Italy, the gilding with gold leaf of a heavy wood frame was used to highlight an original painting that it surrounded. As prints of originals became more widely available and the demand from the public increased, a more affordable process came about...that of decorating a wood board with gold leaf surrounding the print. In order to make the final outcome as beautiful as possible a labor intensive process soon developed.
First, a board was cut on which to mount the print. Different shapes of boards worked better with different
prints which is why today there are many different shapes & styles. Next the unfinished wood is coated with a white paste which is allowed to dry. Gold leaf or gold paint is applied to the outer edges of the board. The gold leafing adds 25-30% to the cost as it contains real gold and the real gold adds to the brightness & luster of the piece. The print is then glued onto the  board and then the real craftsmanship that was developed over many years comes into play. The reason for applying the white paste in an earlier stage is so that the artisans can use the many different tools that they have to put lasting, physical impressions into the borders surrounding the print. Without the layer of paste these hand-applied impressions would not take hold and would gradually show very little relief if any. The final touch is then applied, that of coating the entire piece with a very light antique lacquer to give it an "Old World" feel.

Most companies today do not use gold leaf as this raises the cost of the item substantially. Goldscheider of Vienna still uses real gold leaf on a number of their pieces and this is noted in the description.

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