Take some tips for artistic lighting

By Dr Lori Verderame

Rembrandt van Rijn’s paintings are renowned for their luminosity. When you consider the works of the Dutch master in major international museums, you might agree with most people who think that a Rembrandt painting is rather beautiful from all angles!

I agree with this statement. For art lovers, it is important to remember that there are certain methods to properly illuminate your masterpiece of art. While Rembrandt’s paintings seem to shine on their own, various sources of light are used when masterpieces are installed in museums.

The methods used by museum professionals and exhibition design experts to illuminate works of art can help you properly and safely illuminate a work of art in your home. In short, lighting a work of art is both critical and complex. Lighting is essential to the overall preservation of the artwork, and it’s complex when you’re trying to get it right.

With fine art, even the slightest difference in the direction of the light source and the type of light selected (e.g. fluorescent, incandescent, halogen, LED, natural, etc.) can make all the difference in the world. Like anything else, artistic lighting is about compromise. The basics of lighting artwork in your home are: use low wattage bulbs, don’t expose artwork to direct sunlight, and don’t keep fragile artwork exposed in brightly lit areas for long periods of time.

Natural beauty

Most people believe that natural light is the best light for displaying a work of art. Since most artists are trained in art schools flooded with natural light, and many artists prefer to paint works directly from nature outdoors or in the open where sunlight is plentiful, it is true that sunlight is not the best lighting option for your collection. Sunlight or natural light is difficult to control.

Exposing your artwork to sunlight can cause problems with deterioration of artwork, especially paintings, photographs, prints, watercolors, pastels, and other works on paper. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural sunlight can damage works of art over time. For example, UV rays are so harmful that they can discolor works on paper. Fading of artwork from exposure to light, including direct and indirect light, can occur in as little as three months.

Do not hang this great grandfather portrait in direct light, nor do you attach portrait light to the frame.  Hang artwork on the interior walls of your home away from direct sunlight or artificial light sources.

Plus, with many home design projects looking for mixed media artwork for display, such as textiles serving as spectacular wall decorations, remember these items will fade in the sun as well. This means you have the idea of ​​redecorating your home in the popular “cozy, country chic style” and hanging your great-grandmother’s colorful quilt or vintage craft pieces like embroidery or pictures to decorate your home. the needle on the prominent wall of your sunny family room that faces a large picture window is certainly not a good idea.

Any source of light can cause discoloration and damage to artwork, from oil paintings to historical maps. Sorry, natural light is not the easy answer to your artistic lighting problems.

Bright light

As advanced technology and a litany of new products continually hit the market, the big three in artistic lighting remain incandescent, fluorescent and halogen. What happens to the appearance of a work of art when selecting a particular type of lighting?

Incandescent light brings out warmer colors in the color spectrum such as reds, oranges and yellows. Incandescent light will enhance the warm colors of a work of art compared to other colors. If you have a seascape that is mostly blues and greens, an incandescent light won’t highlight all of those cool colors. In fact, the blues, greens, and violets in your artwork can appear flat under glowing lights. Although they are better than direct natural light or fluorescent lamps which may not emit light across the full color spectrum, incandescent lamps do not provide the easy answer to the general problem of artistic lighting.

Protect grandfather

You should know that the old-fashioned portrait light that you might have attached to the top of a framed painting of your great-grandfather is very harmful. This small light source, depending on the bulb, can emit intense light and heat onto your oil portrait, which will quickly damage the artwork. Since intense light exposure can damage art and antiques, too much light could deteriorate and devalue your pieces. Illuminate your work of art correctly and your collection will reward you with years of enjoyment.

Dr Lori Verderame is the award-winning doctoral student. Antique Appraiser at Historychannel’s # 1 Show, The Curse of Oak Island. Visit www.DrLoriV.cometwww., YouTube.com / DrLoriV or call (888) 431-1010.

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