A frame is a border, a pathway which defines, focuses, circumscribes and isolates.
A frame decontextualizes the image which it contains, i.e. it identifies it as another space in relation to the context in which it is placed.
It has a deictic function i.e. it indicates, shows, “flaunts” the painting: it invites and concentrates the spectator’s gaze on the image, transforming the ordinary gaze into vision and contemplation.
The frame represents the boundary between the ordinary space and the fictional space.
J. Ortega y Gasset3 in Meditazioni sulla cornice (Meditations on the frame) says, on the subject of the power of the frame: “From the real to the unreal, the spirit does a jump like between being awake and asleep”.
The power of the frame is enclosed in the capacity to act as a bridge, a link, between the world of reality and that of the image, guaranteeing at the same time that these worlds always remain separate.