If you are confused as to what lighting solutions would be best for your art gallery, then the following tips would certainly be of help to you. Art galleries have very unique demands when it comes to lighting them up. Unlike most rooms that require a fine balance of task, accent, and ambient lighting, art galleries mainly rely on accent lighting to accentuate the art on display. While keeping the ambient lighting simple, you need to concentrate mainly on getting the accent lighting right for the actual artwork in the room.
Ideally, you must have a picture lighting system that can be easily reconfigured to light up relocated or new art pieces displayed in the art gallery. For several decades now, monorail lighting and track lighting are being used for lighting art galleries. Check the CRI (Color Rendering Index) A lamp’s CRI is nothing but its ability to display the colors of illuminated objects and falls in the range of 1 (monochromatic light) and 100 (the sun). Fluorescent bulbs that we commonly use have a very low CRI while incandescent lamps come with a high CRI. However, incandescent lamps are not really suitable for art galleries since they do not have the exact directional characteristics required for illuminating art galleries.
Low-voltage track and cable systems are commonly used for this purpose, as they use halogen lamps that are known for their almost perfect color rendering abilities with precise beam control. Another important factor that needs to be considered is the color temperature since it decides how colors would appear to the eye under a specific lamp. It is believed that warm colors would look more vibrant under ‘warm’ light sources while cool colors would look more pleasing under ‘cool’ lamps.
Pay attention to the beam spread abilities of a lamp. The size of the lighted area is one of the major lighting problems when illuminating an art gallery. For instance, a large cone used to illuminate a small art piece may not only look odd but also distract your attention from the artwork to the illuminated wall. It may not be always possible to change fixtures but you can certainly resolve this problem by choosing a lamp of the right beam spread. Simply put, beam spread refers to the width of the cone of light a lamp produces as you move away from the light source.
Beam spreads of lamps are specified in terms of spots and floods. While the term ‘spot’ refers to a beam spread of less than 15 degrees, ‘flood’ describes a beam spread in the range of 15 to 30 degrees. You must avoid directional cans as far as possible, since such recessed fixtures may not give enough light to illuminate an especially large piece despite their ability to rotate.