(Italian, ‘little box’)
The rectangular picture frame which evolved in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries from the inner mouldings of tabernacle frames. The pilasters, pediments, and bases of the latter were dispensed with and one was left with what are commonly regarded as the basic elements of a picture frame. The Renaissance cassetta frame was essentially a decorative frieze between two narrow mouldings. The first truly movable cassetta frames were made in the Veneto in the early 16th century. Streamlined cassetta frames were used for framing whole collections, for example at the Capitoline and Spada galleries in Rome. In the Baroque era the decoration of the basic cassetta frame became more elaborate with the addition of centre and corner mouldings.