Leader in Fine Art Lighting

Lighting Glossy Art / Lighting Art That Has A Textured Reflective Sheen

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Glossy art that has a textured reflective sheen requires special art lighting placement to avoid becoming unreadable to viewers.  The varied textures of photographs and gloss-finished paintings can scatter light and cause considerable glare across portions of their surfaces unless proper art lighting techniques are employed.

Photographs always have a glossy surface with a reflective sheen.  Even when printed on a matte textured surface, photographs will not have a flat finish.

Oil or acrylic paint used by an artist will itself include a flat finish.   However, oil or acrylic paintings are sometimes coated with a clear varnish.  Varnish is available in 2 finishes: matte and gloss.  A matte finish varnish gives a medium sheen while a gloss finish varnish gives a high gloss sheen.

When reflective art is positioned above eye level, the art’s glossy textured surface can reflect an art light’s source and cause light to scatter.  The scattered light is usually limited to a glare zone, an area where art is illegible, as shown on the upper portion of the art illustrated in Drawing 1.  The light source in Drawing 1 is positioned directly in front of the painting.  The glare zone from this art light position will be visible from all view angles above eye level.

In Drawing 2, the reflective art is in the same position as Drawing 1.  Two art lights are used instead of one.  The art lights are positioned offset from the art edges to manipulate where reflection will occur.  The art is legible and glare free when viewing the art straight on.  However, glare will be visible when viewing the art from the sides.

This art lighting tip is for illuminating small to wide width paintings.  How to illuminate a very wide reflective painting may be found on a different art lighting tip.  Field testing for glare is always recommended prior to installation of the Wendel art lighting system.

The above art lighting techniques and tips are for reference only and are not specifications.  Wendel art lighting specialists are available to assist the art lighting consultant and art lighting designer with specifying Wendel art lighting fixtures including placement, courtesy of Wendelighting.  Please forward drawings or a completed Wendel WORKSHEET to: info@wendelighting.com.