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Consumers have a number of options to choose from when it comes to artistic lighting, but not all sources of illumination are created equal. Choices range from natural sun and inexpensive picture lights to highest quality projectors, but at the end of the day, the finest art deserves nothing less than the finest illumination.

Natural sun is the least acceptable choice of artistic lighting, despite misconceptions to the contrary. The sun contains infrared and ultraviolet rays that can harm treasured works of art. At best, the sun tends to fade colors over time. At worst, it can crack paint, disintegrate textures, and make wooden picture frames brittle.

Fluorescent fixtures can also do more harm than good. While energy efficient, they contain the same ultraviolet rays as the sun, harboring the potential for significant damage and placing the integrity of paintings at risk. Like incandescent bulbs, fluorescents also produce poor color rendering, obscuring the beauty of a piece by suppressing the brilliance of the entire color spectrum.

Halogen lamps are generally considered a good solution for illuminating paintings, especially in combination with incandescent fixtures. The latter are generally considered safe to use on fragile pieces, but their high energy consumption can be a costly downside. In fact, the U.S. government is slowly phasing out incandescents, and replacement bulbs may become increasingly difficult to find.

To truly showcase the splendor of paintings or three-dimensional pieces, the Phantom line of Contour Projectors is an excellent choice. Known to create a unique lighted-from-within effect, Phantom Contour Projector fixtures are all but invisible to the naked eye, yet their fiber optic technology delivers the highest quality illumination with concise outlines and bursting colors.