Fine art lighting fixtures have to provide more than just improved visibility; they also have to bring out the natural beauty of the subject and provide a cohesive aesthetic that matches their surroundings. Getting all of this in a single package is tough with off the shelf products, but choosing from the available specialty products can be just as tough. With a little research and guidance from an illumination professional, a homeowner will be on their way to securing the perfect illumination design for their painting.
What are some challenges that need overcoming when placing fine art lighting fixtures?
Older paintings tend to contain delicate oils, and these pieces cannot tolerate excessive heat or ultraviolet radiation for long. Over time, both will result in rapid deterioration of the painting, causing it to fade and discolor. This problem is easy to take care of with modern illumination technology, as the lamps can be placed further away from the painting and fitted with UV filters. This alone will prolong the life of the painting by many years.
When installing fine art lighting fixtures, most homeowners aren’t worried about how the painting will be affected decades down the road. Instead, the focus will be on arranging the lamps so that they produce an ideal spread of illumination. This will take a significant amount of planning, but with careful placement, a homeowner can achieve minimal glare while presenting their painting in all of its vivid glory.
During placement, the primary concerns are avoiding glare and directing the illumination precisely. Glare is a result of a poor angle, as illumination will bounce off of the subject at the same angle it is directed onto the painting. In this way, it is similar to how a mirror works. For this reason, it is important to place the lamp in a spot that won’t bounce illumination back into the observer’s face.
Finally, fine art lighting fixtures have to be able to render color effectively. Even with excellent visibility, a painting isn’t going to look right if the illumination alters the true hues in the subject. Only a few sources of illumination are ideal for this purpose, and most designers believe that the closer a lamp gets to 3000 Kelvin, the better it will be at displaying colors accurately.
What fine art lighting fixtures should a homeowner select?
No one product will be the best solution in every circumstance. The size of the painting, the arrangement of the display space, what materials the room is made from, and any ambient illumination will all have an impact on product selection and installation. For example, recessed lamps are extremely difficult to install on a brick or concrete surface, making track lamps a better choice for these settings. However, recessed lamps can produce a spread of illumination that people find dramatic, and they tend to produce less glare and visual clutter.
An expert designer, like those at Phantom Lighting, will be able to steer a homeowner in the right direction when selecting a product. Many established designers maintain showrooms that demonstrate their products in action. This can be an extremely effective way to simplify the process.