Lighting oil paintings is not like illuminating other pieces of art. These artworks are often many years old and are much more delicate than art from other mediums. This makes them susceptible to subtle risks from ultraviolet radiation and excessive heat.

While these stresses can damage any piece of art, they are much harder on fine art made with certain pigments. For this reason, homeowners must plan accordingly when setting up fixtures, as some are too risky to use for delicate artwork.

Why Is Lighting Oil Paintings Different From Other Artwork?

Heat and ultraviolet radiation will both cause steady damage to art canvases, but they are also punishing on oils. Over time, the stress placed on the pigments by heat and radiation will cause them to discolor, break down, and possibly split. Once this occurs, restoration can be extremely expensive and just impossible in some situations. However, if done with the right fixtures, lighting oil paintings is possible without worrying about heat or UV rays.

The easiest way to remove heat from the equation is to use fixtures that are installed a safe distance away from the art. Recessed fixtures like contour projectors or recessed cans, as well as track fixtures, are all set up several yards away from the art. This provides more than enough buffer for heat dissipation. UV radiation is trickier to deal with, as it is especially plentiful in the halogen fixtures that are used by fine art lighting experts. Most high-end fixtures are compatible with UV filters, though, and these will eliminate almost all of the ultraviolet rays from the illumination. This does not alter the appearance of the light in the slightest. Following these simple recommendations will ensure that your priceless piece of fine art will bring you joy for many more years.