Fine Art Lighting of Photographs and Other Artwork
Fine art lighting is a great way to illuminate your art, whether it involves photographic art, prints, or a prized painting. But it doesn’t merely involve adding any kind of light to your artwork. Lighting itself is art when it is applied correctly. The art of illumination can mean the difference between art that is overlooked and art that captures the attention of anyone who enters the room.
Lighting Photographs or Prints
A single photograph can transform the space around it. Soft, targeted lighting will capture the print’s beautiful details while bringing out transitions of tones and colors that viewers might overlook. There are different considerations of light with regards to fine art lighting, each with its own benefits. What’s essential to bear in mind is that the lighting should enhance your art without taking away from the atmosphere and decor.
Ceiling-Mounted Accent Lighting
Accent lighting in the form of spotlights mounted from the ceiling and pointing downward is excellent for illuminating art. They’re an easy lighting solution that also offers some flexibility in that they’re adjustable. You can choose more attractive accent lighting that doubles as part of the room’s design, and the housing can be hidden away in the ceiling for a minimalist look. Ceiling-mounted lights should be installed at a 30-degree angle, pointed at the center of the art. It should yield a soft, balanced spread of light that illuminates most of the art. Lighting directed at the 30-degree angle reduces shadows on the wall around the art, particularly below the artwork, and eliminates glare.
Track lighting offers similar benefits and aesthetics to ceiling-mounted lights. It’s great when you have several pieces of artwork displayed in a room. If you also like to move your art around or you add to your collection quite frequently, track lighting is great. Installation is easy, making it less costly to install. It’s also more flattering than bulkier lighting solutions because it isn’t as cumbersome.
Wall washers are great for illuminating multiple art pieces or larger artwork. You would usually mount wall washers from the floor or ceiling, and there are many styles and types of wall washers from which to choose. Wall washers work well in contemporary style homes with symmetrical qualities and contrasting shapes and lines. Wall washers offer a less specific approach to illuminating your art, and many collectors prefer a more targeted approach.
Other Fine Art Lighting Considerations
An essential element to illuminating your art is the preservation of your artwork. Unsuitable lighting can cause art to fade and can destroy it over the long term. While photographic prints aren’t as sensitive to this as are other mediums of art, it’s still a major consideration.
At a minimum, you should avoid exposing your art to direct sunlight as UV light causes fading. It’s also a good idea to keep your art away from heat sources. If you position your hand close to the surface of your art and feel heat, it’s too close to a light source. Fluorescent lights also have high levels of UV light, so you’ll want to avoid that type of lighting, which can cause shifts in colors and accelerate fading of your art.
A final suggestion is to replace halogen bulbs with LEDs. While art galleries around the globe historically utilized halogen lights, most have replaced them with LEDs. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting faded from exposure to the sun and halogen lighting. But, LED lighting eventually replaced the halogen bulbs to extend the preservation of the masterpiece.
UV rays are the enemy, and halogen bulbs produce a high amount of UV and infrared radiation. Halogen lights also run hot, and though the lighting itself offers a white, bright light, LED is still considered a superior way to light art. And, though there was once a time you could only get LEDs with a bluish cast, you can find a variety of color temperatures today. One of the LEDs huge advantages is their energy efficiency. Though the output may be a little more, LED lighting pays for itself in the long run, particularly when lighting fine art.
If you’re a collector of fine art or an artist, no doubt you want to display your art pieces with integrity. Fine art lighting is the final step to bringing your art to life. The act of illuminating art is art itself.
It takes a trained eye and a professional to design a fine art lighting solution that presents your artwork in its best light.
The experts at Illuminations Lighting Design have helped homeowners all over Houston and the greater Texas region. We look at your artwork through the lens of an artist to create the best lighting design for your art.
Our designers are skilled in both the creative and technical details of fine art lighting. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation with one of our premier lighting designers.