is the best way to display your art ?
|Most people tend to display
their latest acquisition in the brightest place in the house so that all their friends can
admire it or shine the brightest light on it to impress those unexpected night
visitors, but by doing so they are causing a lot of harm.
Proper lighting and the correct positioning of a work of art is very
important. Ultra violet light can damage a painting beyond repair.
Correct lighting will do justice to the work. The older traditional picture
frame lights show off the top part of the painting while leaving the rest in darkness.
Fluorescent lights absorb some colors of the spectrum and thus doesn't allow one to
perceive the full range of colours. Traditional bulbs and lights enhance warm colours like
red, orange and yellow but flattens blue and green colours.
|New age low-voltage bulbs use less
energy, produce beams of light that render all colours well and come close to
duplicating daylight, without causing any heat damage.
This new range of bulbs can be installed in three basic ways:
Recessed lights which are flush with the ceiling -
Picture lights hanging directly on the frame or on the wall
just above the painting -
Track lights are movable fixtures that can be moved on tracks
affixed either to the wall or the ceiling.
|Although lighting is a specialized
field, your personal preference is an important consideration. Since different artists
worked in different light conditions it will be unfair to put new age lights onto a work
that was painted by candlelight as this might enhance the wrong colours.
The purists still believe in daylight as the best light to see and appreciate
art by. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles went as far as to have their Galleries lit up by
automated skylights that adjust to passing clouds. More and more people also use screens
for their windows to filter out harmful rays of the sun and special glass on their
paintings which blocks out UV Rays.
|Tips on the
correct way of lighting up art by Steven Hefferan:
" To really do justice to a three- dimensional object, you'll require
three adjustable lights positioned on the ceiling. To accent a feature of the sculpture,
put a highlight ( spot bulb ) in front of it to one side. On the other side
place a fill light, which has a wider beam than the spot ( flood bulb ), this
is to wash the piece with soft light. The third fixture is a backlight ( flood bulb )
located above and slightly behind the object.
Here it is all in the angle of the illumination. You'll minimize glare if
light hits the art at a 30 degree angle. For a piece with a wider frame allow 5
degrees to avoid casting of a shadow off the frame.
Art and light damage
The most sensitive pieces tend to be works on paper such as pastels and
watercolors. These must be kept away from direct sunlight at all times as the ultra violet
and infrared rays will fade and damage the art. Use Ultraviolet filters for some halogen
and all fluorescent lighting, or choose reflector bulbs designed to minimize
ultraviolet and infrared rays.
It is very important to remember that heat will crack oil paintings and the best
test that one can do is to hold your hand in front of the light that shines onto the
painting. If you feel heat, you know it could damage your painting. Reflector bulbs
with a lower wattage are advised for this. Fiber-optic lighting can also be utilized for
this purpose as it gives off no heat. " *
( House & Garden Special Issue Decorating and Art,
March 1999, p.59. )