How To Limit Light Damage To Artworks At Home
Art, especially vintage or antiques are best taken care of by professionals in a controlled environment in museums or galleries. This, however should not deter one from collecting and displaying their own. If you have a passion for collection, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind, while you leave the heavy and serious work for the professionals.
One of the most challenging and vital issue is light and the damage that may be caused to the painting by exposure to the wrong kind and intensity of light. Though it is important to have enough light to be able to view art, it is imperative that care is taken to minimize the damage that light causes to the painting by fading the colors away or making the paper or textile or any other material more brittle.
In a museum the light levels that the paintings are exposed to are critically controlled to limit the damage to the paintings. The light levels in homes, however are difficult to control and are typically hundreds of times higher than the permissible limit.
Apart from limiting the amount of light, museums also ensure that the Ultra Violet part of light is cut out from any kind of light source that might be used for lighting it up. The ultra violet light has been discovered as the section of the spectrum that can cause significant damage to the colors and material of the painting and speed up its aging as it does to the human skin. However, the good news is that the ultra violet section is not needed for viewing and appreciating art, also it can be removed quite easily.
You have bought and collected art, making it your passion, now the time has come to showcase the prized collection and do it with awareness, sensitivity, and respect for the works. There are factors that might be beyond your control when hanging a work of art in your home, while there are a number of things that can be managed to limit the damage that light might cause to your artworks.
In the room that would be used to display art, if there are any windows, they should be fitted with blinds or with curtains to keep the light out, when the room is not in use.
Choose the wall or the spot to hang your painting wisely so that it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
The picture lights that are designed to fix on to the frames of the paintings might make the paintings and the room look nicer, but cause serious damage to the artwork because of over-lighting and due to the local heating effect that might cause damage to the artworks.
It is advisable to use incandescent lights to light up the works of art, as they have no ultra violet component. Low wattage bulbs with a dimmer switch is the best way to keep the paintings in good health while enjoying them in the appropriate light.
In case the lighting used is fluorescent, the ultra violet component needs to be contained or filtered using a lens or an ultra violet absorbing Plexiglas to glaze & protect the glass.
Specific kinds of works of art like colored media on paper, poor quality paper e.g. newsprint are more susceptible to damage and should not be on a permanent display.
With these simple care instructions in mind, the paintings in your collection can be maintained and conserved for a long time.