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Light for Arts Sake: Lighting for Artworks and Museum Displays

By: Christopher Cuttle(Author)

300 pages, illustrations


Hardback | Mar 2007 | #214482 | ISBN-13: 9780750664301
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £84.99 $109/€93 approx

About this book

Conservation scientists in museums and galleries have a clear understanding of the damage that light can inflict on an object, but what of the designers that create exhibitions to display these precious items? Light for Arts Sake provides a basis for a level of professional expertise for lighting practice in museums. Rather than portraying conservation and display as having diametrically opposed objectives, the central concept is that the interaction of light and art media is the source for both the visual experience and the degradation of the artwork. Optimal solutions derive from understanding and controlling the interaction process, and the need is for the level of understanding among lighting professionals to be brought closer to that found among conservation scientists.

"Light for Art's Sake is a well thought, through publication and it will form a valuable element for museum and art gallery designers. But it will also be a valuable text for all students of lighting – young and old."
- David Loe, Lighting Research & Technology



Chapter One: A philosophy for the presentation of art

Chapter Two: Revealing visual attributes
2.1 Light and illumination
2.2 Human response to light
2.3 Light levels in museums
2.4 Revealing with light

Chapter Three: Light-induced damage to objects
3.1 Photochemical reactions
3.2 Radiant heating effect
3.3 Material response to exposure
3.4 Limiting exposure

Chapter Four: Daylighting typologies
4.1 The aesthetics of daylight
4.2 Side-lit rooms
4.3 Monitor skylights
4.4 Central skylight picture galleries
4.5 Overall daylight-diffusing ceilings
4.6 Restricted daylight-diffusing ceilings
4.7 Polar-oriented skylights
4.8 Wall-lighting picture galleries
4.9 The presence of daylight

Chapter Five: Daylighting controls
5.1 Light transmission
5.2 Light distribution
5.3 Ultraviolet transmission
5.4 Solar heat gain
5.5 Thermal transmission

Chapter Six: Electric lighting typologies
6.1 The aesthetics of electric lighting
6.2 Room surface lighting
6.3 Lighting three-dimensional objects
6.4 Lighting two-dimensional objects
6.5 Case lighting
6.6 Supplementing daylight
6.7 Self-luminous art objects

Chapter Seven: Electric lighting controls
7.1 Light output control
7.2 Luminaire optical control
7.3 Luminaire directional control
7.4 Lighting control systems

Chapter Eight: Lighting strategies
8.1 Ambient illumination
8.2 A sequence of visual experiences
8.3 Minimal-exposure displays
8.4 The great space
8.5 Visual connections

Chapter Nine: Procedures for practice
9.1 A museum lighting pro forma
9.2 Setting up lighting for a new exhibition
9.3 Maintaining lighting during the life of an exhibition


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Christopher "Kit" Cuttle is currently Senior Lecturer in Architectural Technology at the University of Auckland. From 1957 he worked as a specialist architectural lighting designer and advisor, and since 1976 he has been lecturing on the subject in New Zealand, the UK and the US. He holds qualifications in illumination, electrical engineering and architecture, and has published 100 papers and articles on lighting.

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