Digital class 5. D Assembly and presentation

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D Assembly and presentation


Hello! Welcome to the fifth session of Selected Design Topics II. In this session we will address the care that we must have when presenting a two-dimensional work, such as a drawing, a painting, or a photograph once we have finished it. We will focus on the Marie-Louise to enhance our work. We will review some of the speculations that have been generated over time regarding the origin of the term and that date back to the early nineteenth century. We will also define the word Marie-Louise.

We will identify two of the features that a Marie-Louise should have, taking into consideration that It surrounds our work to emphasize it, not to overshadow it. We will emphasize that a Marie-Louise is secondary and that it should only be used to professionally present a two-dimensional work.

We will Identify some of the most used materials to build a Marie-Louise and we will look at a paper suggestion that will allow us that the Marie-Louise that we make has the two characteristics that distinguish it. In addition, we will examine which are the essential tools to create a Marie-Louise, which will allow us to make the most of the material, protect our tools and take care of the Marie-Louise.

We will learn the procedure for making a Marie-Louise and finally we will build our own. We will put a Marie-Louise on one of the two-dimensional works that were made in the previous sessions. This will greatly improve its presentation and allow us to practice what we have learned in this session.

We wish you every success in this fifth session. Let us get started.

Content developement

The work is not over once we have finished making a drawing, using certain representation technique. It is important to consider that all the effort made will lose all credit if the observer does not have a presentation that allows him/her to appreciate the work. In two-dimensions, a good way to improve the presentation of a work is adding a Marie-Louise.

There are several speculations about the origin of the term Marie-Louise, although an agreement about it has not been reached. To mention one of them, the Centre National de Resources Textuelles et Lexicalles claims that it refers to a border that helps to highlight a framed work of art and that It has been called that way, among other objects, after the imperatrix Marie-Louise, Napoleon’s second wife. Also, this Institution has pointed out that It Is a synonym for passe-partout.
Theories agree on one thing, Marie-Louise is a strip, sometimes made of paper, that is placed around a two-dimensional representation (drawing, painting, or photography) before framing it. A Marie-Louise must have some characteristics, which are listed below:

  1. We recommend that it Is neutral in color (white, black, beige, or gray) because if you choose a very striking color, the work you are framing will be overshadowed by it. We must remember that the role of a Marie-Louise is to improve the presentation of the work and make it stand out.
  2. We suggest that the Marie-Louise paper Is smooth because, once again, the presence of a texture near the work that is being displayed can compete with that of the paper of the drawing, painting, or photograph.

Among the most used materials to create a Marie-Louise we can mention paperboard, cardboard, or paper. The choice of the material is up to the creator and can have different intentions. Sometimes, the use of a certain paper (with a particular color and texture) responds to the specific representation that is being shown. Other times, the chosen paper is used for all the drawings, paintings or photographs belonging to a series or exhibition. The material chosen to build a Marie-Louise can even become a hallmark of a creator’s work. We suggest using iris paper to make your Marie-Louise because it is a rigid, smooth paper that Is available in a wide range of colors.

The tools and other supplies needed to make a Marie-Louise are the following:

  1. X-Acto knife. This tool is essential to build a Marie-Louise because this strip is generally continuous, that is, it does not present any cut. In addition, sometimes, the paper that is removed from the center of a piece of paper around when making a Marie-Louise (window) is placed at the back of the work during assembly so that the light does not illuminate the drawing from the back and thus, it can be appreciated in a better way. The use of scissors is out of the question.
  2. Cutting mat. Every time we cut with a X-Acto knife, we must consider it to protect our furniture, but also to extend the lifetime of our X-Acto knife. 
  3. Steel ruler. It is a very important instrument because it will allow us to cut in a straight line without being damaged as it would happen with a plastic ruler.
  4. Masking tape. It is also very important in the construction of a Marie-Louise because it will allow us to assemble our work and the Marie-Louise in a safe way. In addition, if necessary, because of the tape soft glue, we can remove the Marie-Louise, either to change it for another, or to rework some aspect of our drawing, painting or photography. It is a common practice for a Marie-Louise to be reused when we want to improve the presentation of a drawing that has the same measurements as one that we had previously made, which can be achieved when Masking tape is used.

Watch the procedure to build a Marie-Louise in the next video:

Do you know any other facts about Napoleon’s second wife, Marie-Louise?

How Important Is presentation to you? How relevant Is It for others?

Besides the Marie-Louise, do you know other objects that have been named after famous characters?Do you have any drawings of photographs that you would like to put a Marie-Louise on?
Considering what we have learned in this session and the procedure to make a Marie-Louise shown In the video, you will be able to do the next assignment.


Now that we have finished studying some of the most important notions about the presentation and assembly of our works, let us review the content of this class.

In this session we learned the importance of taking care of the presentation of our two-dimensional works, whether it is a drawing, a painting, or a photograph, fundamentally exploring the Marie-Louise. We examined one of the speculations that has been made about the origin of the term Marie-Louise. We pointed out that it is also known as a passe-partout and we understood that it is a frame, sometimes made of paper, which is placed around a two-dimensional work.

We recognized two of the most important features of a Marie-Louise: it must be neutral in color, so that it does not compete with the work that is being presented; and it must be built with a smooth paper so that its texture does not distract the observer.

We Identified some of the materials used to make a Marie-Louise, highlighting the iris paper as a good choice because of Its smooth textures and variety of colors. We also examined some fundamental tools to build a Marie-Louise, among them, the X-Acto knife, which cannot be replaced by scissors because the Marie-Louise should be cut In a single piece; the cutting mat, to protect our furniture and cutting tools; the rule, which must be metallic so as not to damage it with the X-Acto knife; and the Masking tape that will not damage the Marie-Louise with its soft glue.

As spectators, it Is Important to know the origin of the term Marie-Louise to value Its history, and to know how it can enhance a 2D representation. As creators, we should pay attention to the presentation of our work so that the effort that was made while making a work of art, Is highlighted by the use of a resource such as the Marie-Louise.

Congratulations on completing this fifth session on Select Design Topics II! Keep going! If you are interested in three-dimensional representation techniques, you will love our next session because we will learn how to draw and cut a model. Do not miss it!

Information sources

Etymologie de MARIE-LOUISE