Sep 19, 2016

Why LED Lighting Is the Best Way to Light Art

butterfly painting lit by led art light
The quality of lighting in galleries and museums is critical in the display of artwork. Lighting supports the appearance and message of traditional and modern artwork through warm and cool tones. Proper art lighting can also help direct attention to an artist's unique style by pointing to specific details. Yet commonly used light bulbs, such as halogen, incandescent and fluorescent, cause damage to pieces over time from a combination of ultraviolet and infrared radiation. These types of bulbs distort color perception as well whether they are set at the brightest setting or dimmed to protect the artwork from damage and reduce electricity consumption.


Light-emitting diode bulbs offer gallery and museum owners and administrators many benefits that make them the perfect replacement for the light bulbs commonly used in exhibits, such as:

UV Fade Protection
LED bulbs emit none of the ultraviolet radiation that fades color, which means that gallery and museum staff never again have to use UV filters or dim lights to protect fragile artwork like paper, leather and textiles. This also means than any yellowing of artwork surfaces only increases with extended exposure to natural sunlight instead of display light.

Heat Damage Reduction
LED bulbs also emit only a small amount of the infrared radiation that is another cause of color fade and material damage. IR radiation is known to heat surfaces and cause chemical breakdown. Additionally, since LED bulbs usually emit less heat than other bulbs, they are less of a fire risk in most display setups.

Color Spectrum Accuracy
Many types of bulbs change artwork surface color by casting art in yellow or warmer tones. These bulbs often also add more red and orange when dimmed to lower settings. LED bulbs provide staff with greater control over the accurate display of artwork colors because LEDs don't create these surface color perception changes.

Overall Cost Savings
LED bulbs last a lot longer than their counterparts, which means they require fewer replacements and reduce replacement costs. It doesn't matter if they're Energy Star approved brands or not, LEDs also use less energy and lower electricity bills.

There is absolutely no reason that gallery and museum owners and administrators should ignore the advantages of using light-emitting diode bulbs to showcase artwork. Whether in individual fixtures or tracks, LED bulbs offer the same wide range of color temperature options as other bulbs. Exhibit designers can also direct LED beams at similar angles.

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