How to light a painting
Whether it’s displayed in your home or your office; whether it’s a hand painted version of a favorite family photo or a replica of one of the world’s great masterpieces, a museum quality oil painting reproduction represents not only a sizeable investment in your collection, but it’s also a treasured piece of fine art which should be highlighted in the most effective and flattering way. For oil paintings, this is accomplished with proper framing and lighting, the latter being the most important display element.
The Importance of Proper Lighting
Proper lighting is of utmost importance in the display of any oil painting for a variety of reasons. It is through proper lighting that the depth and dimension of hand painting become apparent to the naked eye. It is through proper lighting that shadowing and subtlety of hue come to life in any prized oil painting. It is through proper lighting that fine art is truly appreciated for the complexity of vision from which it was created.
The Lighting Challenges of Hand Painted Oils
Obviously, there are different lighting methods used to feature different types of fine art. Oil paintings present a unique set of challenges in that they are typically very reflective. The dimensional quality of the individual brushstrokes creates an array of light-reflecting surfaces from virtually every angle. This challenge is equally present with oil paintings displayed behind glass.
Lighting Solutions for Hand Painted Oils
Fortunately, there are many solutions to the lighting dilemma with regard to hand painted oils, and most of these solutions operate under a similar theory; broad spectrum lighting is best. The angle and intensity of this lighting will be determined by the frame and other ambient elements of the area in which the painting is displayed. With that in mind, here are some basic “rules of thumb” which should guide you toward optimal lighting solutions for your oil paintings.
The standard lighting “types” include incandescent, halogen and fluorescent bulbs. Let’s just start by saying that fluorescent light is never the proper lighting choice for oil paintings. It distorts the nuances of color in the painting and actually accelerates fading. No good.
That leaves us with two choices; incandescent or halogen, both of which have their merits in the proper display of oil paintings. Incandescent lighting can also “distort” coloring somewhat, but not in the offensive way that fluorescent lighting does. Incandescent lighting simply highlights certain hues, which is flattering to some color schemes.
The most oil-painting-friendly choice for lighting is halogen. These bulbs produce the purest light, allowing the most natural visual expression of your oil painting to come through. The danger of halogen lighting is in the heat produced by the bulbs, which can cause damage to oil paintings. This worry is eliminated, however, by simply placing the bulbs at a safe distance from the painting, where the heat produced by the light does not reach the surface of the artwork.
A museum quality reproduction oil painting is a source of pride in your fine art collection, as well as an heirloom-worthy item to be passed down to future generations. With these lighting tips, you can rest assure that you will derive the maximum enjoyment from ownership, as well as preserve the quality of this artwork for generations to come.