LED lights are great installments in museums and art galleries because they don’t produce heat and can be placed as close to the piece as desired. Another benefit to LED lights in art galleries is that they don’t produce ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is bad for paintings because it deteriorates sensitive material, and IR produces heat. LED lights avoid all these harmful effects on artwork.
A study recently came out that wrongly accused LEDs of destabilizing a common yellow paint used by 19th century artists like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cezanne. The study indicates that LED lights turn this paint known as ‘chrome yellow’ into a brown or olive green. Van Gogh used this shade of yellow on his sunflower paintings, and the yellow symbolizes happiness.
The group of researchers that came out with this report didn’t even use the right kind of light bulb. They carried out their experiment using a Xenon lamp, not something you would commonly find used in a gallery, and high in
- UV-C wavelengths
The report highlights the danger of LEDs using a spectral distribution chart from a six-year old LED system. This outdated data suggests that LEDs have a substantial amount of harmful blue light. However, technological developments in recent years have reduced the amount of blue light present in LEDs.
Rogier van der Heide of Philips Lighting, a lighting consultant at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, states:
The use of LED in museums is safe. It is regrettable that the research was published in such a way. The research was correct but the interpretation was wrong.
LED lights actually shine cooler than incandescent or halogen lights. In addition, they have also advanced to emit accurate color temperature, are dimmable, and use less energy.