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Principle of Mating and Display of Objects of Art

Updated on December 29, 2017

The Beginning

A bare painting or a piece of art is like a bare room without furniture and decorations. Just as a bare room does not appeal to most people similarly a bare work of art also may not loo appealing to a viewer. Hence its is important to embellish the art work. This is done by framing and matting and makes the work of art appealing.

We can summarize the three most important uses of matting as follows

1) Practicality . This is one of the more important uses and simply means that the work of art must not touch the glass. If a painting touches the glass, there is a chance that because of humidity the work of art could stick to the glass with resultant damage to the art object itself.

2) Decorative: The mat helps in giving the work of art a fillip by blending it with the room decor and color of the walls.

3) Beauty: People buy art objects as they love art. Matt work enhances the appeal of the art object and makes it more pleasing to the eye.

There are no rules as far as mat work is concerned. Generally the guiding principle is aesthetic sense and that can vary from person to person.

Despite there being no hard and fast rules, it is recognized that three basics govern the use of mats.

Three Basics

Firstly, It must be borne in mind that the color of the mat should be different from the wall color. A different color creates a contrast and makes the work of art stand out.

Secondly, A mat purpose is to brighten the print. Hence if this is remembered than the the mat should be lighter than the print, but darker than the wall. this will allow the work of art to stand out in the room and be noticed.

Thirdly, There is a need to harmonize the prints and colors in case you are displaying a number of them. .

Color of the Core

Another point to consider is as to what should be the color of the mat's core. Generally the cores of the mat are either the same color as the mat or plain white. White color has a dual property. It can make an object stand out or it also distract from its artistic merit. You will have to make the decision depending on how you feel and your aesthetic sense. .

Use of White and Black

Many photographers and photo collectors who display objects of art in galleries and homes use a white mat with a black core. This is an excellent combination and allows the work of art to stand out. It is especially helpful in pencil drawings and black and white photo murals.

Color and Mats

Colors Mats have their own charm, but using them is again a matter of choice. As there are no fixed rules, use of color mats is again dependent on aesthetic sense of the framer and displayed.

One color rule is not to have the mat color match the wall exactly. This again is not a rule and can be changed. Bear in mind that the aim of a display and a mat is to draw the attention of the viewer to the object of art and not suppress the work of art. Hence use colors that make the art work stand out and that means creating contrasts with the color of the walls.

Outside Help

Though choosing a mat color is not a complex work. However sometimes it may be advisable to take some help. In that case it is better to contact a professional framer. These people deal with hundreds of works of art and frame them and thus are quite adept in making suggestions.It may be a good idea to invite one of them to the house for a practical assessment. It may cost some money as no advise comes free.


A work of art has its beauty enhanced with a mat and proper framing. Once this is accepted then a person can go about his task in adding a mat and frame to the work of art. though there are no hard and fast rules, yet the principle is to create contrasts so that the art work stands out and does not blend with the walls.


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    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Suzettenaples for appreciating this post

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wonderful hub on mating. Very interesting and informative. Mating is just as important as the painting is that you want to present on your walls. It can add or detract from the painting or framed object for the visual effect. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Billy. Your comments have a special meaning

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information. This is a first for me on HP. I don't think I have ever seen a hub on this subject. Well done and interesting.