It is important to realize however, that any portrait or painting can never stand on its own. Every masterpiece requires the proper type of fine art lighting in order to be displayed with museum quality. Fine art lights are specifically designed for this person, and they differ greatly in size and luminance capacity from general lighting fixtures and purely utilitarian task lights. Fine art lights are manufactured in a wide range of fixture styles, lamping options, and material builds. These options range on the low end to simple battery powered cordless picture lights to ultra-sophisticated fine art lighting projectors. Efficiency ranges just as widely from the low end to the high end of the spectrum, and some fine art lighting fixtures are really should not be used at all other than general print lighting or photography lighting in public events. We will see why in the moment.
Why can we not hang paintings in windowed rooms and allow natural sunlight to illuminate fine art?
Because sunlight is the worst possible source of fine art lighting. In spite of the fat that it is the light we all live in daily, and the light by which we see the beauty and the many forms and colors of nature, sunlight contains an invisible enemies that can damage human skin if you stay out in the sun for too long—ultraviolet light. Reason tells us that if UV radiation can sunburn our skin, sensitive oils and canvases will suffer an even more severe outcome if they hang for any length of time in a beam of sunlight.
Infrared light is also part of the natural lighting spectrum, and although not as dangerous to humans as UV light, nevertheless has its own deleterious effects on canvas and oils. Infrared light waves are very hot and will dry out the oil and cause it to crack over time.
So what about the universal image of the Renaissance painter sitting by an Italian river, paintbrush in hand, as the sun streams down to light his canvas?
It makes for an excellent painting, provided it is kept out of the sun and showcased under fine art accent lighting fixtures design to preserve it in the annals of myth and symbol as a representative symbol of enlightenment and virtue…not the way painters of the time actually worked.
Do incandescent lamps make good fine art light sources?
Yes and no. For warm colors, such as red, orange, yellow, and brown, incandescent lamps are excellent sources. However, incandescent picture lights have the opposite effects on cooler colors such as blue, green, and violet. They appear flat with this type of illumination.
If you are new to fine art collecting, and you are looking to purchase fine art lights for the first time, we recommend you think twice about incandescent because they will more than likely be forced out by legislation just as they recently were in California.
Can energy saving fluorescent be used for fine art lighting?
We do not recommend this. While larger commercial fluorescent lights rank very high on the CRI (color rendering index), smaller lamps with internal ballasts render only a portion of the spectrum, making them unsuitable for the color palette. Even more serious is the fact that fluorescent produce ultraviolet rays just as the sun does, and they too will destroy any paintings they illuminate.
Is halogen lighting a good source for showcasing art?
Actually, it is the best. Halogen low voltage fixtures produce a strong white light, and they bring out many different colors across the color spectrum. New technology has invented low wattage based halogen bulbs, which deflect damaging UV and infrared rays. Halogen bulbs typically come in line voltage (120 V) and low voltage (12 V). This is why halogen lights are the favored lamping option for fine art projector lighting.
Phantom Fine Art Lighting Projectors
Phantom Contour Projectors feature ideal optics and photometric data for your fine art lighting needs. These projectors feature halogen light fixtures and produce a very unique quality of luminance called “the lighted from within effect.” Phantom fine are lighting projectors are easy to install and extremely versatile, because of their small, compact size and no exposed wiring.
This fine art illumination device incorporates a parabolic aluminized reflector or PAR (MR-16) 75-watt halogen based lamp in its design. These lamps were originally used for the fiber optic industry, where detailed light focusing is required. The typical rated life of this lamp is around 4000 hours, giving the enthusiast of exquisite paintings plenty of time to enjoy their precious piece, before having to replace the bulb. The SM or surface mount series is the ideal choice for any type of fine art lighting. This adjustable projector has a sleek design, which is unobtrusive and perfect for accenting brush stroke details, along with other vital elements of your paintings. The design of Phantom projector fixtures will ensure that your frames are pampered, so they are not damaged.
Call a Phantom Agent for more information on all of these options. We invite you to call toll free 800-863-1184 to request literature online or visit our lighting blog to learn more about Phantom custom low voltage lighting products.
Our lighting manufacturing facility is located in Houston, Texas with professional lighting sales agents located throughout the United States that enable us to service all of Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America and the United States including Washington DC, Nashville Tennessee, Las Vegas Nevada. Portland Oregon, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Tucson Arizona, Los Angeles California, Atlanta Georgia, Dallas Texas and Sacramento California.