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Light renders art visible in museums. At the same time, light also interprets. In this regard curators, architects, conservators, lenders, artists, and visitors often have differing expectations about how art should be appropriately displayed. This article is based on the aesthetics of image and exhibition and presents six categories of display—ranging from the objective reception of art to hyperrealism and the dynamic communication of art treasures. Differentiation occurs based on three aspects: The content within the artworks, formal aspects of the image medium, and the spatial and temporal surroundings of the work. By analyzing the artwork’s brightness, contrast, and light atmosphere, curators can appropriately specify lighting for the room and exhibit to aesthetically establish a common link between the observer and the artwork or to realize a modification for emphasizing a conceptual idea. The analysis also offers criteria as to what extent the lighting concept communicates an authentic impression in relation to the perception of how the artist created the picture. Open access:
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The Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society
ISSN: 1550-2724 (Print) 1550-2716 (Online) Journal homepage:
Interpreting Art with Light: Museum Lighting
between Objectivity and Hyperrealism
Thomas Schielke
To cite this article: Thomas Schielke (2020) Interpreting Art with Light: Museum Lighting between
Objectivity and Hyperrealism, LEUKOS, 16:1, 7-24, DOI: 10.1080/15502724.2018.1530123
To link to this article:
© 2018 ERCO GmbH. Published with license
by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Published online: 30 Jan 2019.
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Interpreting Art with Light: Museum Lighting between Objectivity and
Thomas Schielke
Marketing, ERCO GmbH, Lüdenscheid, Germany
Light renders art visible in museums. At the same time, light also interprets. In this regard curators,
architects, conservators, lenders, artists, and visitors often have differing expectations about how art
should be appropriately displayed. This article is based on the aesthetics of image and exhibition
and presents six categories of displayranging from the objective reception of art to hyperrealism
and the dynamic communication of art treasures. Differentiation occurs based on three aspects: The
content within the artworks, formal aspects of the image medium, and the spatial and temporal
surroundings of the work. By analyzing the artworks brightness, contrast, and light atmosphere,
curators can appropriately specify lighting for the room and exhibit to aesthetically establish a
common link between the observer and the artwork or to realize a modification for emphasizing a
conceptual idea. The analysis also offers criteria as to what extent the lighting concept commu-
nicates an authentic impression in relation to the perception of how the artist created the picture.
Received 28 March 2018
Revised 24 September 2018
Accepted 26 September
Art; design; exhibition;
lighting; museum;
1. Introduction
Each method of museum lighting serves to commu-
nicate a conceptionally based approach to art. Even
exhibition spaces with a neutral atmosphere represent
a particular curatorial attitude, where, for example,
only diffuse daylight is available as the light source or
uniformly illuminated walls project a sense of calm.
that presents art as a collection of individual works.
The decision about how to interpret the display of
artworks with light is, however, frequently linked to
an extensive design process because highly different
interests often clash (Garside et al. 2017). Architects
demand an acknowledgment of the building itself,
lighting designers place the importance of light in
the foreground, curators aim to make a contextual
statement about the collection as a whole, conserva-
tors try to avoid any damage to the exhibits, collectors
as lenders are keen to communicate a particular sense
of aesthetics, and the artists themselves insist on the
suitable display of their individual works (Lippert
tors whose general interest in culture hinges on the
expressiveness of a presentation (Kesner 1993).
With light, exhibition organizers are presented
with an influential tool that is able to define the
atmosphere for viewing art, establish a sense of
drama to support its reception, and generally con-
tribute to the success of the exhibition. For this
reason, the question for all participants rapidly
arises as to which criteria should be used to achieve
a suitable lighting concept: the light atmosphere
within the specific artwork? Or the light in which
the work was created? And what is appropriate for
art that was originally created in candlelight and
that should now be displayed in an attractive way?
Should an individual work serve as the benchmark
or, indeed, the primary theme of the complete
exhibition? How can the impact and interaction
with art be stimulated with light? When does light
appear authentic and in what circumstances might
it change the meaning of the exhibit?
To appreciate the context of exhibition lighting,
changes to the room, form of display, and exhibit are
initially presented. Six lighting concepts demonstrate
how presentations can range from the pretense of
objective art appreciation to the dynamic communi-
cation of art.
CONTACT Thomas Schielke ERCO GmbH, Brockhauser Weg 80-82, Lüdenscheid 58507, Germany.
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the article can be found online at
Gold Open Access for this manuscript was supported by the 1
International Museum Lighting Symposium & Workshops. London, England. September 2018.
2020, VOL. 16, NO. 1, 724
© 2018 ERCO GmbH. Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (,
which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
1.1. Museum Architecture
Museum architecture as a platform for the display
of art has drastically changed since the 1990s
(Barreneche 2005; MacLeod 2005). Many institutes
have expanded, and visitors no longer come for
the exhibits alone but also for the architecture.
Following an era when museums were constructed
as monuments, and in the 1960s and 1970s as
flexible instruments for displays within white
rooms, architecturally expressive forms were cre-
ated that were also intended to adopt an important
municipal function (Macdonald 2006). I.M. Pei,
for example, designed a striking orientation point
for tourists and visitors with the pyramid of the
Louvre in Paris illuminated during the evening
hours (Schielke 2017). The so-called Bilbao effect
was achieved with Frank Gehrys Guggenheim
Museum that many museums subsequently
attempted to emulate in their striving for compar-
able cultural and economic success (Jencks 2005).
1.2. Changes in Exhibition Design
Exhibition design and lighting has developed and
progressed in parallel to changes in the architec-
ture (Steiner 2004). The desire for movement and
flexibility came about at an early stage, although
extensive implementation was seldom realized
(Grau et al. 2017). The artist and architect
Friedrich Kiesler appropriately summarized these
flexible expectations of the museum directors:
One should be able to change the heights and
the widths of the rooms at will. If possible, auto-
matically. Skylight, daylight from the side, should
not be excluded. All in all, an ideal museum would
be changeable to any size and dimension, and the
lighting, too(Kiesler 1966, p. 94).
The orientation of museums in past decades has
also significantly changed from institutions that
preserve our cultural heritage to being a service
for the public sphere (Hoare et al. 2016). This also
has consequences for lighting design because the
latter needs to comply with the various demands
of presentation and display. Part of this transition
also includes, for example, the comprehension of
visitors as customers desiring entertainment, offer-
ing a platform for private persons and companies
aiming to attain a cultural sheen for the
appearance of their events, establishing the
museum as a presentation interface to sponsors,
and understanding exhibitions as a location for
educating groups or conference participants
(Hooper-Greenhill 2000; Voorhies 2017).
A special challenge is also placed on museums
with regard to the presentation of many exhibits.
Due to the high number of visual stimuli in the
surroundings, observer fatigue can occur because
mental effort is required for the reception of
objects (Kaplan and Kaplan 1982). The decreasing
interest in exhibitions in connection with phe-
nomena such as satiation, stress, information over-
load, and competition between multiple objects is
therefore also termed museum fatigue(Bitgood
2009). One factor able to reduce fatigue consists of
appropriate illumination of the spaces and exhibits
in order to render the surroundings more readable
(Lam 1977).
Furthermore, scenographic exhibition concepts
with suitable lighting are an important method of
offering visitors an appealing stay. This strategy
includes surprises to communicate new ways of
accessing content, orientation to make the concept
behind an exhibition more understandable, special
events where visitors can become familiar with
exhibits at night within a different context, or
reduction to achieve a new level of sensitivity
with regard to brightness or color (Dicks 2003;
Reinhardt and Teufel 2010).
1.3. Art Exhibited
Pictures and sculptures usually comprise the
essential exhibits of art museums. When display-
ing artworks with light, three aspects are of inter-
est in addition to conservation requirements from
the point of view of the curator: (1) What relation-
ship does the work of art have to the room and the
observer? (2) How can the materiality of the art-
work be appropriately accentuated? (3) Which art
theory aspects are relevant? The first question
relates to the arrangement of objects and how the
picture frame establishes a separation between the
artwork and observer. The second aspect is exem-
plarily demonstrated with paintings from the
Middle Ages and shows how certain pigments,
colors, and painting techniques demand appropri-
ate lighting. The third question is explained in the
next section from the point of view of the artist
and illustrates how an artist interprets light in
different ways and use this in his or her works.
A noticeable change in the method of present-
ing art since the end of the 19th century and in the
relationship between the artwork and the observer
came about with the omission of the picture frame
with modern paintings (Washburn 1965). The
heavy gold frames tended to emphasize the work
of art and also separated it from its surroundings.
The illusion of depth was also created by the
oblique angle of the frame. Because the works
were isolated by the frames, this also enabled
tight salon-style hangings without conflicts in pic-
torial content. In the modern era, the comprehen-
sion of pictures has significantly changed as a
result of their increasing size, as can be seen by
the New York school of action painting. Doing
without a frame meant that a separation between
the image and observer was annulled to establish a
coherent unit, explained Washburn (1965).
Modern paintings are more suitable for wide spa-
cing within very wide rooms compared to works of
the Renaissance, for example, typified by heavy
frames and tight arrangements in palaces or
museums. Washburn (1965) also even sees a sig-
nificant misunderstanding with modern works of
art if the paintings are grouped closely together to
impact more of an ensemble than single works.
If the perspective is changed from picture frame
to picture content, the rendition of color and tex-
ture on the pictorial surface comes to the fore-
ground. To enable the gold ground in religious
paintings from the Middle Ages to appear shiny,
sumptuous, and valuable, for example, light similar
to candlelight in old churches is indispensable
(Schöne 1983). Schöne (1983) also comments that
very bright accents detract from the impact and
effect of such paintings. The effect would also be
modified by replacing the original diffused, colored
church windows with clear glass. For the perception
of luminous glass window art and mosaics, the light
in the room is just as decisive as for works with
gold. Schöne (1983) also criticizes that with paint-
ings from the 16th to 18th centuries the standard
method of hanging these on very bright walls
degrades the light effect of the painting to the
benefit of its color impact because the bright walls
outshine the work of art. Schöne (1983) claims, on
the other hand, that with modern painting where
the color is more important than the light, using
bright walls is understandable.
1.4. Light in Painting
The perception of how artists interpret light is
important for the design of exhibitions to derive to
what extent an atmosphere corresponding to the
artistic position can be communicated to the
museum visitors in the room. The notion of light
with artists is characterized by two aspects: Firstly,
how light guides the attention and, secondly, how the
eye perceives light (Arnheim 1960). If, for example,
intensive solar rays fall between leaves onto a forest
floor, our attention and direction of view immedi-
ately change. For artists the subjective perception of
light via the eye is also in contrast to the scientific
view of physical reality (Arnheim 1960).
If uniformly illuminated objects are observed,
they appear not to gain their brightness from
another source. Arnheim (1960) describes this
property as inherent. However, to differentiate
between objects and light, Arnheim (1960) classi-
fies into object brightnessand illumination.In
works of art these two aspects are not necessarily
linked: There may be a light source within the
picture but the picture shows no illuminated
objects. Alternatively, the source of light may be
outside the image space but the objects are still lit.
When viewing artworks, a further component
must also be consideredthe light source that
illuminates the room containing the artwork and
the observer. The type of lighting in which the
artist painted the picture and the lighting in
which the observer analyzes the artwork can there-
fore either create a unit or be in contrast. In a way
similar to how light is a foil for the symbolism of
day or night, clarity or secrecy, shadows also have
meaning and relevance for pictorial content and
rooms (Binet et al. 2002).
In the history of art, various phases concerning
the handling of light can be identified. In early
Greek or Egyptian antiquity, a contrast in bright-
ness exists between figures in the foreground and
background, but this impression is achieved via
object brightness, not via the lighting (Arnheim
1960). The use of shadows only came about with
the progression of time. In the Middle Ages, the
light in the image is decisively influenced by the
materiality of the gilded ground.
In the transition to Renaissance times, a signifi-
cant determination of the terms of light and shadow
came about thanks to Leonardo da Vinci: luceis
the light source of a candle and lumeis the light
of the illuminated side of a sphere (Richter and
Leonardo 1989). Accordingly, there is also a differ-
entiation with shadows into ombra primitivaas
shadow that adheres to the side of the sphere in
shadow and ombra drivativaas the cast shadow
of an object that assumes space and falls onto the
floor. In the early Renaissance, light was essentially
used to model volume prior to light adopting an
important symbolic role in Chiaroscuro, as can be
seen in an early phase with LeonardosLast
Supperand later in expressive form with the
works of Rembrandt (Arnheim 1960). The bright
and luminous works of the Impressionists, on the
other hand, show a different understanding of light.
This development reached its zenith in pointillism
whereby the pictorial impact was established via
dots of brightness and color.
1.5. Methods for Differentiating between Light
Scientific literature concerning museum lighting
frequently analyzes technical aspects such as the
visibility of paintings, suitable luminaire arrange-
ments, conservational issues, or correct color ren-
dering (Cannon-Brookes 2000; Cuttle 1996;
Rawson-Bottom and Harris 1958). The analyses
partly reference the problem in that they analyze
a single work of art or dissimilar artworks or
sections of a painting or reference a specific paint-
ing technique or certain period, but a generaliza-
tion with several artworks and differing painting
techniques is usually not available in practice. The
rise of light emitting diode (LED) technology has
also enabled the spectrum to be modified and
color temperature to be adapted to the pictorial
content and matched to daylight (Csuti et al. 2015;
Nascimento and Masuda 2014).
As criteria concerning the suitability of various
light concepts for works of art, this article analyzes
three aspects: (1) The content within the artworks
resulting from art history and art theory, (2) formal
aspects of the image medium such as size and
proportion, and (3) the spatial and temporal sur-
roundings in which the work was created and the
type of light that dominated at that time. Brightness,
angle of incidence, light distribution, and the spec-
trum are included in the last point. A subdivision
into six categories is applied for differentiation of the
light concepts. These range from objective to expres-
sive presentation. Essentially, this differentiation is
implemented based on luminance distribution ran-
ging from very wide to narrow light distributions.
The spectrum is also considered for purposes of
further differentiation, ranging from one light color
to a combination with colored light.
The analysis concerning impact and effect is based
on gestalt (composition) psychology and the laws of
design such as the law of similarity or the law of good
gestalt (Wertheimer 1923). The visual patterns cre-
ated from various luminance distributions and light
concepts can also be used to create different sur-
roundings; for example, with a focus on coherence,
complexity, legibility, and mystery (Kaplan and
Kaplan 1982). The lighting is also interpreted with
the aid of semiotics and is comprehended as a sym-
bol of communication by which objects change their
meaning via light (Hill 1999; Schielke 2018).
2. Lighting Concepts
A classification of lighting solutions into six cate-
gories, ranging from the objective reception of
art and hyperrealism to the dynamic communi-
cation of artistic treasures, illustrates the diver-
sity of design possibilities and also helps with
orientation in the concept phase of exhibition
planning (Table 1). Introducing the categories
begins with the appearance of art and space
and then describes the atmosphere from the
point of view of the museum visitor. Notes on
suitable lighting tools indicate how concepts can
be specifically implemented. If a method of pre-
sentation and display was derived exclusively
from the content of the artwork, critics would
justifiably suggest the allegation of formalism.
The model of six categories, on the other hand,
proposes an approach that indicates how differ-
ently light is able to impact on the appreciation
of art and how important differentiation is to
suitably communicate culture.
2.1. The Pretense of Objective Art Appreciation
The sober, empty, white-walled rooms of exhibi-
tions evoke the impression of a factual and objec-
tive method of displaying art. Large-format
paintings such as works from the American
Color Field movement from the 1950s have a
particularly positive impact in galleries, often
termed white cubes,because the wall becomes
an extension of the artwork itself (ODoherty 1976;
Wilkin and Belz 2007). Works from the Minimal
Art movement or the realistic photographic works
of Bernd and Hilla Becher, for example, also
achieve a high level of impact if the conceptual
attitude of the works comes together, a sense of
cloudy sky and diffuse daylight emanating from
the soft atmosphere of the room (Lange 2006).
Any attempt to emphasize the special features of
an individual artwork within such neutrally dis-
played exhibitions is neglected in favor of a uni-
form presentation of the exhibits (Fig. 1). Visitors
experience a spatial impact even in completely
neutral presentations of artthe brightly lit, per-
ipheral white surfaces attract the eye of exhibition
visitors. This in turn lends the architecture a level
of validity similar to that of the artworks. The
artwork as a darker object is able to break away
from the bright background and therefore blends
visually into the foreground. In terms of atmo-
sphere, the uniform brightness of the white space
is reminiscent of test laboratories where any form
of external emotional influence is excluded in the
striving for objective evaluation. Viewers of art can
also concentrate on interpreting the exhibits in a
similarly undisturbed way. The monotony of the
diffusely illuminated room can, however, stir a
sense of boredom because the light atmosphere
resembles an overcast sky on a dismal day (Lam
1977). The contrast in brightness is unfavorable
with wallwashing on white walls displaying dark
paintings. Soft shadowing in pictures depicting
darkness may also break up and disintegrate to a
certain extent if such artworks are illuminated in
very bright light.
One of the classic daylight solutions for neu-
trally lit rooms with a uniform distribution of
brightness is skylightseither with diffuse glazing
or structures aligned northwards so that direct
sunlight cannot enter the exhibition space, thus
avoiding the danger of glare (Cuttle 2007).
However, with diffuse daylight, sculptures lack a
sense of modeling that comes from shadowing,
and any three-dimensional details in paintings
are also obscured. Other criteria such as the bril-
liance of glossy surfaces are diminished.
With the use of electric lighting, museums
often install wallwashers to achieve light effects
comparable to diffuse daylight (Schielke 2013).
The homogeneous distribution of brightness in
the vertical plane creates a contemplative atmo-
sphere with a deep spatial impression (Fig. 2). To
achieve good illumination of the wall surfaces, a
distance to the wall consisting of one third of the
room height is recommended for wallwashers.
The luminaire spacing or distance between the
luminaires is generally equal to the distance to
the wall. However, according to the particular
luminaire, this may also be up to one-and-a-half
times the wall distance. Indirect lighting fixtures
or light ceilings are alternatively used to create
diffused light in exhibition spaces, although wall-
washers are able to chisel more details out of
paintings and can also emphasize the sense of
brilliance on works. Light sources with a color
rendering of R
above 90 are considered to be
neutral and very good for museum lighting,
Table 1. Characteristic properties (x) for the six types of display:
(1) white cube, (2) minimalist accenting, (3) dramatic display,
(4) black box, (5) hyperrealism, and (6) dynamism.
Form of display 1 23456
Brightness contrast
Low x
Medium x
High x x x x
Dynamic x
Color temperature uniform x x x
Color temperature contrast x x x x x
Color rendition high x x x x
Metamerism x x
Colored light x x
Colored light dynamic x
Daylight diffuse x x x
Daylight direct x x
Wallwasher x x x
Spotlights x x x x x
Contour spotlights x x x x
Grazing light x x x x
White x x x x
Medium gray or colored wall x x x x
Dark gray or colored wall x x x
whereas R
values below 80 are regarded as
unsuitable (Society of Light and Lighting 2015).
2.2. Minimalist AccentingThe Subtle
Emphasizing of Artworks and Motifs
To disassociate from the uniformity of the white
cube concept without taking on a more theatrical
form of presentation, an approach has developed
that works with bright surroundings but subtly
emphasizes individual works or conceptional motifs.
In this regard, two varying strategies are used in
addition to general brightness in the room: Firstly
with the background that differentiates itself from
the artworks via the luminance and color tone of its
wall color and secondly with the use of discreet
accent lighting (Figs. 3 and 4). Visitors to historic
museums presenting classic art are frequently sub-
jected to a very inconspicuous but effective method
of presentation. With dark wall colors, the paintings
Fig. 1. The exhibition spaces as white cubes support the objective viewing of art. The uniform wallwashing does not differentiate
between the art and the wall plane to give a generous spatial impression. Richard Nonas/Donald Judd exhibition in the Fergus
McCaffrey gallery, New York. Photography: Edgar Zippel. © ERCO GmbH.
Fig. 2. Concept 1White cube: Uniform spatial impression due to homogenous wallwashing. Rendering: Axel Groß. © ERCO GmbH.
often seem brighter on their own due to the contrast
in luminance compared to displaying them on white
walls. Another variant consists in the use of color
contrasts, where, for example, paintings with warm
color tones are displayed on walls with cool colors.
This effect can be highlighted with supplementary
accent lighting. In the world of art, subtle differences
in brightness are found, for example, in the Gothic
era with Giotto di Bondone or in the Renaissance
with Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo
da Vinci (Sciacca 2012). Such artworks feature very
soft shadow modeling.
Curators use pinpoint light accents to lend the
works a greater sense of presence in relation to the
wall surfaces. The same method can also be used to
emphasize central works in the space, thus attracting
the attention of visitors to essential exhibits and
discreetly communicating the general motif of the
exhibition. In contrast to a consistent white cube
approach, the room adopts a sense of calm but
Fig. 3. Accent lighting at the Louvre Lens museum emphasizes the exhibits below the daylight ceiling in a very subtle way to create
a peaceful atmosphere. Architecture: SANAA, Tokyo. Exhibition design: Studio Adrien Gardère. Museum lighting and installation: ACL
Alexis Coussement. Lighting design: Arup, London. Photography: Iwan Baan. © ERCO GmbH.
Fig. 4. The foreground achieves a harmonious relationship between the gold color and red wall while the artwork significantly
distances itself from the wall in the background. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Architecture: Alessandra Quarto/Angelo Rossi.
Photography: Dirk Vogel. © ERCO GmbH.
without sterilityor monotony due to the visual dyna-
mism of the unobtrusive contrasts in light.
Individual works or complete groups can be
accentuated to establish relationships. Another fea-
sible approach is to discreetly accent a section of a
painting to reference the theme of the exhibition, for
example, although a culturalphilosophical question
arises in such situationsHow far can a curator go
in modifying an artworks statement via lighting?
Would perhaps the artist disapprove of such an
encroachment and see it as manipulation? Making
the right decision demands a degree of experience
and sensibility concerning art and artists.
To establish hierarchies of perception that dis-
creetly structure and prioritize the information,
exhibition organizers often adopt accent lighting
dimmed in a nuanced way as a supplement to
general lighting (Fig. 5). Striking contrasts in illu-
mination are achieved with a illuminance ratio
from 1:10 upwards between the accent light and
its surroundings (Cuttle 2007). Though this ratio
seems exaggerated for the subtle emphasizing of
individual works, a contrast of 1:2, for example,
has almost no effect for perception purposes. For
this reason, an illuminance ratio of 1:5 is assumed
to be ideal. If the nominal reflectivity of the work
of art or its surroundings differs due to a very
bright or dark color, it is advisable to adjust the
illuminance. Dimmable spotlights are indispensa-
ble for achieving differentiated contrasts between
the exhibit and the room. Decisive, however, for
an appropriate result is the overall visual impres-
sion of the artwork in the space rather than a
painstaking glance at the instrument measuring
illuminance. It is recommended to begin with the
darkest painting with the highest conservational
requirements when setting the illuminance and to
match the light to the maximum permissible illu-
minance (IES 2017). The illuminance can then be
individually set for the other artworks in accor-
dance with the reflectance of the material colors.
In this way, a homogenous overall luminance
impression can be created in a room with paint-
ings having different degrees of reflectance. At the
same time, the illuminance for bright paintings
can be minimized for conservational purposes.
Softly diminishing graduations on light beams
also support the impression of curatorial encroach-
ments taken with care. Discreet accent lighting
gives a new impact to sculptures in particular
because their silhouettes and surfaces are modeled
by the shadowing and radiance. Another form of
discreet interpretation is in the shape of the light
beam. If, for example, related artworks are grouped
together using an oval light beam, the observer
rapidly identifies contextual references, whereas
this might not be the case with individual light
accents pinpointing the individual meaning of the
work. With exhibition spaces where daylight enters
from one side only, subtle displays of artworks can
Fig. 5. Concept 2Minimalist accenting: Subtle accenting via a combination of uniform wallwashing and dimmed accent lighting.
The colored wall establishes an additional contrast with the warm-toned picture and red background. Rendering: Axel Groß. © ERCO
be achieved, for example, if the lighting adopts this
light direction along with its associated distribution
of brightness and indeed simulates this with appro-
priate illuminances on the specific walls. As a result,
the wall opposite the window facade gains a higher
illuminance than the wall segments between the
2.3. Strong Contrasts in Light Achieve Dramatic
Both painters and photographers take advantage of
intensive contrasts in light and shadow to achieve a
sense of tension in their image compositions.
Transferring this ambiance to the exhibition room
suggests itself to provide visitors with holistic experi-
ences of art. The Chiaroscuro style developed in the
Late Renaissance and Baroque eras typical, for exam-
ple, of many works by Caravaggio or Rembrandt
attempted to achieve dramatic image effects with use
of intensive brightdark (Kelleher et al. 1985). Such
high-contrast light and shadow effects are also an
essential part of the photographic style of many
works by the fashion photographer Mario Testino
(Testino 2015). In a time in which exhibitions have
become a popular leisure activity, rich-contrast pre-
sentations, as used on the stages of theaters, for exam-
ple, also achieve a stimulating, entertaining allure.
If this approach is transferred to an exhibition
room, the artwork becomes the center of attention
and the peripheral space recedes to disappear into
the surrounding darkness (Fig. 6). The darker the
wall color, ceiling, and floor, the more intensive
the spatial impact. Each work of art is given its
own grand entrance with the use of accent light. In
terms of atmosphere, the dark room involuntarily
creates an impression of nighttime in which the
light beams bring the art to life (similar to using a
flashlight outside at night). Just as a projector in
theatrical productions spotlights the principal
actor on stage, so the focus is placed on the spe-
cific individuality of the art. The intensive contrast
in brightness establishes a dramatic atmosphere
for visitors, exerting a sense of fascination akin to
a stage performance, and in this way even the
composure and dispassion of sober art works can
be divested. Here again, though, curators must ask
themselves how far they can go in emotionalizing
the apparently objective visual language of the
artist in an attempt to achieve high-profile exhibi-
tions. In dark environments, when does the feeling
of a fascinating secret deteriorate into a sense of
loss and disorientation? For sculptures that expli-
citly depend on spatial perception, the general use
of high-contrast accent lighting in achieving an
intensive play between light and shadow on the
exhibit is often simpler than with paintings.
Directed light from spotlights is essential for exhi-
bits if rich-contrast, brightdark presentations are
aimed for (Fig. 7). Each source of diffuse light in the
Fig. 6. The intensive play of light and shadow is reminiscent of a theater production with actors on the stage. Schweizerisches
Nationalmuseum/Landesmuseum Zurich. Photography: Moritz Hillebrand. © ERCO GmbH.
room would impair the impact of dark surroundings.
The intelligent selection of specific light beams enables
the surface to be illuminated to be ideally matched to
replaceable light distributions are ideal for such
requirements because they enable simple modification
in both temporary and permanent exhibitions
(Schielke 2011). Narrow spot beam angles of <10°
are suitable for accenting very small objects or for
bridging larger distances between the luminaire and
the work of art. In contrast, spot or flood beam angles
are used for larger objects. High illuminances may
occur with the concentration or grouping of very
narrow light distributions that might have a damag-
ing impact on light-sensitive exhibits (CIE 2004;
Thomson 2013).
A further option for linear-shaped objects is oval
floodlight distribution for the ideal illumination of
wide paintings and statues. Even wider light distribu-
tions such as wide flood are available, but these are less
suitable for creating high-contrast, brightdark atmo-
spheres because they excessively brighten the room.
Wide light distributions are usually only used by
curators when displaying exhibits covering the height
of the room, such as tapestries, and predestined for
such purposes are lens wallwashers that achieve a
uniform distribution of brightness on the wall.
However, in this context, dark floors and ceilings are
needed to create an intensive sense of tension in the
room based on brightdark contrasts. With sculp-
tures, the sense of drama can be increased with sha-
dows and extreme light directionseither with the
steep incidence of grazing light for emphasizing tex-
tures or with a very wide angle of incidence for
sculptures that generates very long shadowing
(Michel 1996). In general, a 30° angle of incidence
has proved ideal for paintings and sculptures to
achieve good modeling and avoid overshadowing
(Thomson 2013).
2.4. The Black Box: Magically Illuminating Works
of Art
Very dark exhibition spaces seem to exude a secre-
tive atmosphere where works of art arouse in obser-
vers the impression of being illuminated from
within. The concept of a black box where exhibited
objects are illuminated as jewels in a form of treasure
box represents the opposite approach to the white
box. Photographs gain the impression of having
been installed in front of light boxes. The Canadian
artist Jeff Wall, for example, shows his photographs
in illuminated boxes (De Duve et al. 2010). This
automatically arouses associations with the cinema,
television, and neon advertising.
If artworks seem to only illuminate from within,
they disassociate themselves completely from their
architectural surroundings (Fig. 8). It is as if only the
Fig. 7. Concept 3Dramatic display: Intensive brightdark contrast exclusively via accent lighting. The dark wall color emphasizes
the brightdark effect between the picture and its background. Rendering: Axel Groß. © ERCO GmbH.
art itself is important, although its effect is strongly
based on this magical method of presentation. This
approach creates an artificial context because artists
seldom create their works in comparable conditions,
and luminous surfaces in this form do not occur in
With this method, curators dispense completely
from attempting to display art in a realistic way in
favor of dramatic effects. Works of art gain a highly
emotional, slightly mystical effect because only these
are illuminated and their surroundings remain com-
pletely dark.
Contour spotlights are indispensable for such
effects because they have a framing attachment
that projects circles of light or contours with highly
crisp edges (Fig. 9) (Krautter and Schielke 2009).
The attachment on the head of the luminaire is used
to individually modify the projected area to the
specific artwork. The crisp edge of the light beam
is modified by sliding the lens, and the framing
attachment is initially precisely focused when illu-
minating pictures. Slight defocusing is then carried
out to achieve softer transitions, especially with
wide picture frames. If luminaires have a closed
Fig. 8. Contour spotlights enable works of art to impressively illuminate from within. Hangaram Design Museum, the Seoul Arts
Center, Seoul. Photography: Sebastian Mayer. © ERCO GmbH.
Fig. 9. Concept 4Black box: Display of artworks with projection spotlights that only illuminate the picture surface via their crisp
beam contours. The pictures seem to illuminate from within because both the picture frames and the room lie in darkness.
Rendering: Axel Groß. © ERCO GmbH.
contour attachment, museum visitors can hardly
see them in dark exhibition spaces.
2.5. Interpreting Artworks with Hyperrealism
Visitors are confronted with an exaggerated sense
of reality within hyperrealistic display strategies.
Hyperrealism is an art movement that originated
in the United States and Europe in the 1970s
(Bredekamp and Stafford 2006). The hyperrealistic
style emphasizes details and themes that are artifi-
cially reinforced and thus have a stronger impact
than in the real world. The painter Chuck Close,
with his oversized portraits, and the sculptor
Duane Hanson, with his life-sized human figures
reflecting scenes and situations from everyday life
in America, are among the founders of hyperreal-
ism (Duane et al. 1999; Russell Taylor and Bollaert
2009). The British artist Matthew Penn also clas-
sifies his works as belonging to hyperrealism
(Terstiege 2015). The artist emphasizes gradations
of brightness in his portraits with the use of light-
ing to achieve greater clarity and a stronger, more
subtle definition of details (Fig. 10). This creates
an astounding interplay between the multiple
layers of oil colors and the precise alignment of
several contour spotlights with varying color tem-
peratures. With Penn, the illumination of the art-
work becomes a fixed component of his art.
Artworks subjected to hyperrealistic display
situations are intentionally exposed to
transformations that aim to increase visual percep-
tion, often to an excessive extent. In contrast to the
lighting concepts outlined above that concern the
relation between the artwork and the space, hyper-
realism works exclusively with the object itself and
its redefined statement. With discreet interpreta-
tions, an uncanny or even frightening mood is
sometimes created because visitors discover striking
resemblances to reality. In an environment in which
people interested in art are diversely stimulated by
theme-related worlds, curators are faced with the
question of how far they can proceed to contribut-
ing to a new method of experiencing art using
hyperrealism, in striving for exhibition success
achieved by reinterpreting the exhibits or empha-
sizing the guiding philosophy of an exhibition. If
artists utilize light for a hyperrealistic effect in the
context of their image concept, the light becomes
an integral part of the work of art. However, if
lighting designers and curators retrospectively
decide to display a work of art in a hyperrealistic
way in the context of the exhibition, this concerns
an interpretation of the work of arteven if artists
or curators fall back on similar lighting techniques.
With hyperrealistic exhibition concepts, lighting
designers experiment with special brightness dis-
tributions or the light spectrum itself, for example
(Fig. 11). With the former, the painstaking analysis
of brightness distribution on the painted surface is
paramount. In comparison to the lighting concepts
described above in which the light beams achieve a
Fig. 10. The British artist Matthew Penn classifies his works as hyperrealistic, highlighting gradations in brightness using several
contour spotlights for each work. Photography: Matthew Penn. © Matthew Penn.
fairly uniform distribution of illuminance on the
image surface, hyperrealism brings the lighting
effect of the individual parts of the image more
to the fore and emphasizes these in a differentiated
way. If the work of art contains a variety of con-
trasts, a correspondingly greater number of lumi-
naires with narrow light beams are used. Contour
spotlights are ideal for such applications because
the projected area can be adjusted in shape, size,
and focus by modifying the lens position. A poten-
tiometer on the spotlight allows the brightness of
each luminaire to be individually matched to the
specific area of the painting. It is recommended to
invest sufficient time with such scenarios when
setting up the exhibition.
The second option for emphasizing the impres-
sion of color via the light spectrum requires lumi-
naires with several individually controllable color
channels. In the period before LED technology, light-
ing designers exerted influence on the spectrum via
their specification of the light source with, for exam-
ple, fluorescent or incandescent lamps and with the
use of filters in order to influence the color satura-
tion on paintings. However, this procedure did not
allow easy adaptation to changing exhibitions.
Luminaires with individually controllable color
channels simplified handling. With this method,
color consistency remains constant across several
luminaires that target different zones within the
artwork. However, the composition of the light spec-
trum is modified on each individual spotlight using
the various color channelsthe result is that certain
material colors in individual zones of the image or
within an exhibition have a different effect and that
color rendering is therefore modified (Csuti et al.
2015; Houser et al. 2016; Schanda et al. 2016). This
process enables single colorsfor example, a blue
skyto be emphasized in terms of color impression
while avoiding the shifting of colors toward blue
elsewhere in the image or on other artworks in the
exhibition room. This phenomenon is known as
metamerism”—working with identical color con-
stancy while simultaneously modifying the spectral
composition (Staniforth 1985). The spectrum of
warm white LEDs generates a neutral impression of
color in contrast to many discharge lamps because
these spectral distributions are irregular. With the
red, green, and blue LEDs of RGBW modules, the
same warm white light color can be created by
mixing the three colors, but the spectrum exhibits
colored materials. Light control enables lighting
designers to individually define the color channels
of RGBW luminaires to achieve hyperrealistic color
impressions. Light control and appropriate lumi-
naires gives the curator the option of individually
setting color fidelity (R
Artists could also use luminaires with multicolor
Fig. 11. Concept 5Hyperrealism: Display of pictures via very narrow accent lighting on parts of two pictures (painting on the left
and painting at top left on the rear wall) as a supplement to accent lighting for the individual paintings. The spectra of the two outer
accent spotlights differ from the others and intensify the warm colors of the painting to achieve a sense of hyperrealism. Rendering:
Axel Groß. © ERCO GmbH.
LEDs for dynamic presentations of their artwork and
exhibitions and introduce sequences of color
2.6. Dynamically Communicating Exhibitions
In todays society, education and entertainment are
increasingly merging to become a single entity. To
motivate a younger public whose everyday existence
is dominated by digital devices and multimedia
experiences, museums are looking more closely at
innovative forms of presentation (Mattern 2014).
Visitors equipped with tablets and mobile phones
already have their own interfaces to access further
information, to discover exhibits in a playful way
using apps and augmented reality and to even inter-
actively influence presentations. The interest in
avoiding a static atmosphere in exhibitions and
influencing the attention of the public when they
visit exhibitions and museums has a long tradition.
However, modern technology has much simplified
the implementation of dynamic display concepts and
also enabled new forms and methods.
Peggy Guggenheim used dynamic light in her
first New York gallery, The Art of This Century,
in 1940 with the intention of creating a new
method of access to art and visually communicat-
ing the pulsating character of life by using pulsat-
ing light (Bogner et al. 2005). Movement can also
be a component of the pictorial content (Kepes
1965). Alternatively, the image technology can
suggest a dynamic staging. A work of art by
David Hockney in the Smithsonian American Art
Museum or the works of the Italian Studio
Carnovsky, for example, achieve changes in recep-
tion because they function with alternating light
colors in order to make various patterns visible
(Moreno 2010; Smithsonian American Art
Museum 2003). A step further is the kinetic art,
in which the viewer can experience the dynamics
Artworks as singular static objects disappear, to
be replaced by dynamic backdrops for high-impact
and informative overall experiences (Fig. 12). The
exhibition space is transformed into a stage for
visitors that gains in aesthetic quality from the
redesigned choreography of the works of art.
With such concepts, visitors may gain the impres-
sion that the lighting itself dominates in the form
of light art, to the detriment of the exhibits.
Furthermore, if the main focus of artistic commu-
nication shifts away from the actual display of the
works toward an atmosphere of entertainment, an
impression of kitsch is rapidly created for the art
Designing dynamic lighting concepts is, on the
one hand, based on modifiable lighting parameters
and, on the other, based on the complexity of the
interaction. Accordingly, suitable light control sys-
tems with sensors and controllable luminaires are
Fig. 12. Varying the brightness and light color creates dynamic light with a pulsating atmosphere for celebrating the experience of
culture. MAMUZ Living Museum for Prehistory, Schloss Asparn/Zaya, Asparn an der Zaya. Exhibition architecture: Atelier Christoph
Cremer, Vienna. Photography: Gustavo Allidi Bernasconi. © ERCO GmbH.
selected. Three types of interaction can be identi-
fied: dynamic, responsive, and interactive
(Seitinger and Weiss 2015). Presentations using
dynamic light consist of preset sequences; for
example, a high level of illuminance at midday
that recedes toward the evening. This change can
be implemented via daylight or via the lighting.
This in turn enables visitors to register the chan-
ging course of the day outside.
Visitors are exposed to a responsive lighting
situation when sensors modify the light; for exam-
ple, if people enter a dimmed exhibition space and a
motion sensor then increases the accent lighting
either due to conservational considerations or to
enable observers to individually view artworks. A
different light direction or a change from accent
lighting to wallwashing in the room is also feasible.
If, for example, daylight enters an atrium housing
sculptures, the direction of the light and its bright-
ness change automatically over the course of a day.
To achieve a stronger sense of emotion when enter-
ing the space, another possibility would be supple-
menting warm white accent lighting for good color
rendering of the pictures with cool or even blue
general lighting or wallwashing, thus further inten-
sifying the focus on the exhibits beyond the color
contrast itself (Fig. 13).
Museums can provide interactive lighting situa-
tions via apps; for example, where visitors modify
the light over their own smartphones. If the
observer selects a particular motif in the room,
appropriate artworks or sections of pictures are
then emphasized with higher illuminance. With
regard to museum-based education, quizzes are
feasible where visitors enter their responses into
the app and the accent lighting indicates the cor-
rect answer. If level-of-interest profiles are avail-
able to visitors, this enables further situations
where the majority decides whether an artwork is
displayed in a peaceful, neutral atmosphere or
alternatively with a possibly rich-contrast, theatri-
cal ambience.
3. Conclusion
The rise of new art forms and other aesthetic ideals
is reflected in methods of art communication and in
the changes that exhibition concepts have under-
gone. The innate diversity of art presentations with
light ranges from sober, neutral atmospheres achiev-
ing an objective impression to hyperrealism and
dynamic presentations that celebrate the interaction
with cultural assets as experiences (Table 2). Three
factors can be used as criteria when selecting a light-
ing concept: The (1) content within the artworks, (2)
formal aspects of the image medium, and (3) spatial
and temporal surroundings in which the work was
created (Fig. 14). By analyzing the artworksbright-
ness, contrast, and light atmosphere, curators can
specify a similar method of lighting for the room
Fig. 13. Concept 6Dynamism: A combination of projection spotlights for the individual paintings with uniform blue wallwashing.
The crisp-contoured accent lighting enables good color rendering of the paintings. Rendering: Axel Groß. © ERCO GmbH.
and the exhibitfor example, rich-contrast accent
lighting for expressive Chiaroscuro effects. If, on
the other hand, the size of the artwork and its picture
frame are considered, lighting can also be selected
that corresponds to the aesthetic approach; for exam-
ple, wide-area wallwashing for large, minimalist
paintings or narrow distribution accent lighting for
small portraits with striking, historic frames. A
suitable color temperature and lighting method can
also be derived from the particular era and its his-
light or candlelight in a studio. The analysis based on
important criterion with light when aiming for
authentic presentations is the question of whether
Table 2. Overview of the methods of display with regard to effect on the artwork, atmosphere of the room, and lighting design.
Exhibition concept Art and space Light
1. Objective reception of art Realistic, unemotional art presentations
Calm atmosphere where the art and the
room appear equivalent
Light: uniform brightness distribution, hardly any modeling, no
Daylight: diffuse incidence of light through windows or roof
Lighting: wallwashing for uniform brightness distribution
2. Subtle emphasizing of artworks
and motifs
Discreet highlighting of exhibits
Calm atmosphere where art slightly
dominates the room
Light: low brightness contrasts, slight modeling and brilliance
Daylight: diffuse incidence of daylight supplemented by
discreet accent lighting accent lighting
Lighting: wallwashing and accent lighting. Subtle contrasts in
3. Dramatically displaying exhibits Artworks are placed in the foreground
Emotional display of exhibits
Light: intensive brightness contrasts, strong modeling/brilliance
Daylight: direct daylight via windows or roof
Lighting: accent lighting matched to the size and shape of the
Sculptures: steep angle of incidence for striking shadows
4. Magically illuminating works of
Only the surfaces of the image are seen
The art is intensified; the room visually
Light: uniform brightness only on the image surface with no
light in the room
Lighting: contour spotlights with crisp light beams
5. Interpreting artworks with
Artworks are placed in the foreground,
details are emphasized
Image characteristics are highlighted to
intensify the reality
Light: Brightness and colors are intensified
Lighting: dimmable contour spotlights for the differentiated
illumination of picture sections and spotlights with
multichannel color control for modifying the spectrum
6. Dynamically communicating
Lively displays of art
As well as purely observing the art, the
entertainment factor is increased
Light: dynamism from brightness, color temperature, and
Daylight: diffuse incidence of light through windows or ceiling
Lighting: time-based light control, sensors, or apps
1. Content artwork
Art history
Art theory
2. Form of artwork
3. Environment of creation
ht / Li
Fig. 14. Factors for selecting lighting concepts: Content within the artworks, formal aspects of the image medium, and spatial and
temporal surroundings in which the work was created.
time of creating the work, whether the lighting con-
cept being considered could lead to a falsifying of the
artistic statement, and whether the lighting solution
distracts from the essential reception of the art.
Disclosure Statement
In accordance with Taylor & Francis policy and my ethical
obligation as a researcher, I am reporting that I am employed
by a company that may be affected by the research reported
in this article. I have disclosed those interests fully to Taylor
& Francis, and I have in place an approved plan for managing
any potential conflicts that arise.
The author reported no funder names.
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The design of the light environment plays a critical role in the interaction between people and visual objects in space. Adjusting the space’s light environment to regulate emotional experience is more practical for the observers under lighting conditions. Although lighting plays a vital role in spatial design, the effects of colored lights on individuals’ emotional experiences are still unclear. This study combined physiological signal (galvanic skin response (GSR) and electrocardiography (ECG)) measurements and subjective assessments to detect the changes in the mood states of observers under four sets of lighting conditions (green, blue, red, and yellow). At the same time, two sets of abstract and realistic images were designed to discuss the relationship between light and visual objects and their influence on individuals’ impressions. The results showed that different light colors significantly affected mood, with red light having the most substantial emotional arousal, then blue and green. In addition, GSR and ECG measurements were significantly correlated with impressions evaluation results of interest, comprehension, imagination, and feelings in subjective evaluation. Therefore, this study explores the feasibility of combining the measurement of GSR and ECG signals with subjective evaluations as an experimental method of light, mood, and impressions, which provided empirical evidence for regulating individuals’ emotional experiences.
... Do czynników wewnętrznych limitujących kreatywność zaliczyć należy: zmęczenie, utratę i osłabienie motywacji, utratę inspiracji. Aktywność kreacyjna jest zajęciem wyczerpującym (How Thinking Hard Makes the Brain Tired, 2022), stąd konieczność podtrzymywania długotrwałego stanu twórczego może prowadzić do wielu negatywnych skutków w postaci wypalenia, depresji, a nawet utraty zmysłów (Brieger et al., 2020;Bulei et al., 2014;Cullum et al., 2020;Rasminsky, 2019;Schielke, 2020;Schreiner et al., 2018). Jednostki utrzymujące przez długi czas wysoki poziom kreatywności z chwilą zakończenia procesu kreatywnego mogą postrzegać swoje życie i środowisko jako bezbarwne, negatywne, nieinspirujące, a w skrajnych sytuacjach nawet utracić sens swojego istnienia. ...
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Natura i kultura to dwa komponenty konstytuujące pojęcie ludzkości w sposób nierozerwalny. Ponieważ natura, czyli świat dzikich mocy oraz kultura, czyli świat ludzkich wytworów, nieustannie ewoluują, wzajemnie się katalizują i dopełniają, niemożliwe jest określenie linii jednoznacznie oddzielającej od siebie te dwa obszary. Zarządzanie, przynależne do świata kultury, pomaga porządkować i organizować środowisko człowieka (naturę i kulturę). Z kolei również przynależna do świata kultury sztuka pomaga uwalniać emocje (katharsis), dynamizuje życie wewnętrzne człowieka oraz inspiruje (Tatarkiewicz, 2015, pp. 24, 380). Owa porządkująca funkcja zarządzania i twórcza funkcja sztuki determinują potocznie postrzeganą przeciwstawność obu dziedzin. Dopiero zagłębienie się w istotę zarządzania i w istotę twórczości artystycznej pozwala odkryć wiele wspólnych źródeł tych dwóch obszarów – choćby kreatywność. Życie, oparte na powtarzaniu i kopiowaniu, byłoby monotonne i skostniałe, gdyby nie czynnik kreatywności będący przedmiotem pożądania zarówno menedżerów jak i twórców sztuki. Na tej podstawie można stwierdzić, że pozornie przeciwstawne dziedziny zarządzania i sztuki mogą się dopełniać i inspirować. Zarządzanie nieustannie ewoluuje: od XIX-wiecznego podejścia inżynierskiego charakteryzującego się traktowaniem rzeczywistości organizacyjnej jako systemu bezdusznych elementów, które należało uporządkować na wzór niezacinającej się maszyny (metafora organizacji jako maszyny), przez XX-wieczną menedżerską efektywność w realizowaniu celów ekonomicznych, która jest transpozycją podejścia inżynierskiego, ale z dominacją czynnika rynkowego, aż po rozwijające się w ostatnich dziesięcioleciach zarządzanie humanistyczne. Nurt zarządzania humanistycznego, będący dominującym podejściem teoretycznym niniejszej pracy, ukierunkowany jest na tworzenie trwałego dobrobytu człowieka (Kociatkiewicz & Kostera, 2013). Z kolei ów trwały dobrobyt człowieka w duchu humanizmu polega przede wszystkim na: 1) bezwarunkowym poszanowaniu godności, indywidualności i ochrony przed wyzyskiem każdej istoty ludzkiej; 2) refleksji etycznej odnoszącej się do wartości uniwersalnej, jaką jest dobro, będącej integralną częścią decyzji biznesowych oraz 3) implementacji tej refleksji etycznej do realnego postępowania organizacji w duchu godzenia intencji z działaniami. Te trzy wymiary zarządzania humanistycznego promują rozwój człowieka poprzez działalność gospodarczą sprzyjającą życiu i stanowiącą wartość dodaną dla całego społeczeństwa (Melé, 2016). Analizując powyższą ewolucję istoty zarządzania można powiedzieć, że w naukach o zarządzaniu dopiero niedawno zrozumiano, że życie ma głębszą wartość, a techniczne porządkowanie i optyka rynkowa powinny być traktowane jako metody osiągania celów przez organizacje, a nie cele same w sobie. Naturalną zatem konsekwencją będzie mariaż zarządzania humanistycznego z estetyką, która – skupiona na wartościach uniwersalnych prawdy i piękna oraz sztuce kumulującej najbardziej abstrakcyjnie zaawansowane wytwory ludzkości – stanowi kwintesencję i emanację człowieczeństwa.
... Ces approches s'éloignent finalement de la croyance qui verrait les musées d'art minimiser leur scénographie permanente pour ne pas détourner l'attention des collections -souvenons-nous de la mise en garde contre les effets esthétisants de l'éclairage émergés à la conférence de Madrid de 1934(Stein 1935. Aujourd'hui, on reconnait à l'éclairage la capacité de contextualiser, d'interpréter et d'activer les oeuvres (Schielke 2020). Ces approches font donc appel à une stratégie scénographique qui repose sur (1492). ...
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L'impératif évènementiel des musées d'art a amené certains chercheurs à redouter le déclin des collections en faveur des expositions temporaires. Toutefois, des études récentes ont fait ressortir de nouvelles pratiques muséales qui visent à promouvoir les expositions permanentes au moyen de diverses stratégies: cartes blanches, résidences d'artistes, performances. Les collections artistiques semblent ainsi sortir de l'ombre. Dans ce contexte, cet article propose d'étudier un autre phénomène qui porte sur la revalorisation des collections artistiques par des pratiques scénographiques. Quels sont les intentions, les logiques et les impacts de ces stratégies sur la monstration des expositions permanentes? Pour étudier cette question, l'auteure s'appuie sur la rénovation de trois: le Nationalmuseum de Stockholm, le Département de l'Islam au British Museum de Londres et les salles jumelles ʽLeonardo' et ʽRaffaello et Michelangelo' à la Galerie des Offices de Florence. Les résultats soutiennent l'idée que le volume, la couleur, l'éclairage et le décor constituent une grammaire scénographique sensible, qui implique l'expérience esthétique et sensorielle des visiteurs. Ces stratégies héritent des expérimentations dans les expositions temporaires, mais également des pratiques passées de monstration des collections. En ce sens, ces tendances émergentes suggèrent un réinvestissement des musées dans leurs collections artistiques par une approche scénographique tournée vers l'expérience du public.
... F inally, these approaches move away from the belief that art museums should downplay their permanent exhibition design so as not to distract attention from their collections; recall the warning against the aestheticising effects of lighting that emerged at the Madrid Conference on Museology in 1934 (Stein 1935, p. 127). Today, lighting is recognised as having the capacity to contextualise, interpret and enhance artworks (Schielke 2020). These approaches therefore call for an exhibition design strategy based on a sensory and multi-sensory mediation of collections. ...
The event-driven imperative for art museums has led some to fear the decline of permanent collections in favour of temporary exhibitions. However, recent studies have highlighted new museum practices that aim to promote permanent exhibitions through various strategies, such as carte blanche artist projects, artist residencies and performances. Art collections therefore seem to be emerging from the shadows. In that context, this article studies another phenomenon concerning the enhancement of art collections through various exhibition design practices. What are the intentions behind, reasons for and impacts of these strategies on the display of permanent exhibitions? To explore this question, the author examines the renovations of three museums: the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, the Islamic Gallery at the British Museum in London, and the twin ‘Leonardo’ and ‘Raphael and Michelangelo’ rooms at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The results support the idea that volume, colour, lighting and décor constitute a multi-sensory language of exhibition design that creates an aesthetic and emotional experience for visitors. These strategies are inherited from experience with temporary exhibitions but also from past practices in the display of collections. In this sense, these emerging trends suggest that museums are reinvesting in their art collections through an exhibition design approach oriented towards the public experience.
... The visual effect of illumination is an important factor to be taken into account in the selection of lighting in a space, which can guide visual attention and provide color and rendering scenarios for the environment (David et al., 2019). The artistic expression of lighting is inherently diverse, and the fusion between it and the expression of visual objects is an interesting part of art communication (Schielke, 2020). Recently, with the development of digital technology, colored lights have been widely used to improve the emotional experience of individuals in space (Lee and Lee, 2022). ...
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The lighting environment has an important influence on the psychological and physical aspects of a person. On certain occasions, reasonable lighting design can regulate people's emotions and improve their feelings of comfort in a space. Besides, specific lighting can create a specific atmosphere according to space requirements. However, in the study of an individual's affective impressions, there is still some uncertainty about how colored lights affect an individual's moods and impressions toward visual objects. This research improves the understanding of the emotional impact of colored light in space. To better understand the lighting environment in the observation process, the project studied the effects of four groups of lights (green, blue, red, and yellow) on the participants' moods and impressions. Participants watched two sets of visual images under four different lighting conditions and provided feedback on their emotions and evaluations through the Multiple Mood States Scale, Two-Dimensional Mood Scale, and Semantic Differential Scale. The results show that different colors of light have a significant effect on mood, and red light can arouse emotional changes to calm, irritated, relaxed, nervous, stability, and pleasure. At the same time, different colors of light have a certain relevance to participants' impressions and this provides further research value for the design of the colored light environment in an individual's affective impressions. Therefore, this study discusses the feasibility of colored lights as a display method, which has potential application prospects for constructing different space atmospheres.
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L’éclairage des musées apparaît comme un angle mort de la muséologie, où il est le plus souvent considéré comme un facteur de dégradation à maîtriser pour respecter les normes de conservation préventive. Pourtant, les professionnels de l’éclairage muséal revendiquent depuis plusieurs années l’étendue de ce qui est possible avec la lumière, au-delà de protéger et de valoriser les expôts : contribuer à la manière dont les visiteurs perçoivent et reçoivent ces expositions. Dès lors, la question des applications de l’éclairage au musée se pose. Comment la lumière naturelle et artificielle pourrait-elle être considérée sous d’autres perspectives que ses fonctions techniques en muséologie ? Cet article présente et discute les résultats d’une enquête qualitative menée auprès de vingt-et-un musées d’art en Europe. Les conclusions concordent avec la littérature en matière de conservation préventive, mais soulèvent aussi d’autres applications possibles comme l’interprétation et la médiation par la lumière. Ces résultats ouvrent la voie d’une réflexion en muséologie sur les usages communicationnelle de la lumière et suggèrent de nouvelles pistes d’étude de l’éclairage en tant que dispositif stimulant à part entière l’expérience et la compréhension des visiteurs.
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Spatial characterization of lighting ambiances is very important for museology and is usually done through sequencing of architectural space; however, in this work, we adopted a characterization based on the spatial configuration and fields of view presented to museum visitors. We examined two museums located in the same environment but with very distinct stylistic repertoires to explore how stylistic slant might affect this characterization. We first assessed the properties of spatial visibility using space syntax, and then based on this analysis determined the most important isovists presented to visitors, i.e., fields of view, in the two museums. We defined spaces from these, which we evaluated using HDR photos, which were processed by numerous applications and software, and we were able to deduce the spatial-light characteristics in each museum from the resulting pixels. As a result, we were able to deduce the influence of stylistic trends on the selection of configurational and visual typologies of museum ambiences. RIASSUNTO Gli effetti delle caratteristiche spaziali sull'ambiente luminoso: il Museo dell'Ara Pacis e il MAXXI di Roma La caratterizzazione spaziale degli ambienti luminosi è molto importante per la museologia e di solito viene fatta attraverso la sequenza dello spazio architettonico; tuttavia, in questo lavoro abbiamo adottato una caratterizzazione basata sulla configura-zione spaziale e sui campi visivi presentati ai visitatori del museo. Abbiamo esaminato due musei situati nello stesso ambiente ma con repertori stilistici molto distinti per esplorare come il taglio stilistico possa influenzare questa caratterizzazione. Abbiamo prima valutato le proprietà della visibilità spaziale usando la sintassi spaziale e poi abbiamo determinato, sulla base di questa analisi, le isovazioni più importanti che sono presentate ai visitatori, cioè i campi visivi, nei due musei. Da essi abbiamo definito gli spazi, che abbiamo valutato con foto HDR, elaborate da numerose applicazioni e software, e siamo stati in grado di dedurre le caratteristiche spazio-luce in ogni museo dai pixel risultanti. Come risultato, siamo stati in grado di dedurre l'influenza delle tendenze stilistiche sulla selezione delle tipologie configurative e visive degli ambienti museali. Parole chiave: ambiente luminoso, sintassi dello spazio, luminanza, pixel, percorso museale, configurazione spaziale.
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This study questions the effects of a lighting scenario designed as a mediation device for Raoul Dufy's painting La Fée Électricité (1937) within the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (MAM). It discusses the visitor's experience from the REMIND theoretical research program to understand how lighting influences visitors' cognitive, emotional and sensory experience (embodied cognition). Results allow to consider new possibilities related with lighting and other "sensorial" devices. This could contribute to theorizing a "sensorial" field of museum studies, and to develop adapted devices.
Conference Paper
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Museum lighting is a radical gesture. It creates atmosphere, circumscribes the exhibition space, protects, and enhances objects and works of art. Besides, dynamic lighting interacts with visitor experience and their navigation. But can lighting also influence the sense-making? And if so, how? This presentation deals with the impact of dynamic lighting on visitor experience at the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution within the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (Paris, France)-which is provided with an immersive lighting scenography, called "the sound and light show". The research aimed to identify the role of light in embodied experience and attempted to describe its contribution to the process of sense-making. Results suggest that lighting rhythms the visit. It creates contemplative sequences or accelerates the navigation. It calls on memories and mnemonic images. It stimulates emotions, sensations, interactions with the space and between the visitors.
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Architectural lighting provides optimum visibility for tasks but illuminations convey meanings as well. Though many studies analyze technical dimensions of lighting, research on the meaning is rare. Therefore, this article discusses semiotics as a methodology for lighting design within the design process and critically reflects the appearance of light and architecture. The semiotic discourse starts with terminology and presents models of architectural signs. The history of architectural semiotics serves as a background for the transfer to lighting and leads to an understanding of recent debates. The relevance of semiotics for lighting design is shown in three aspects: Firstly, the influence on the lighting design process; secondly, how physical characteristics of light intensity, distribution, and spectrum are interpreted as signs; and, thirdly, the evaluation of different lighting design tasks like daylight, lamp and luminaire design, interior and exterior lighting, as well as media façades. A critique of architectural and lighting semiotics reveals the methodological limitations of the linguistic concept. It can be concluded that semiotics provides a useful instrument to identify the meaning, which helps to improve the quality of lighting design. The semiotic matrix offers a differentiated view of relationships based on the aspects of sign, object, and interpretant with relation to light characteristics, illuminated buildings, and architectural lighting in general.
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The results of a series of interviews with museum professionals on the subject of museum lighting specification and selection are reported, with the aim that this report should provide an insight into current practice. Specific attention is given to the usage of industry parameters (lux, CIE-Ra, CCT), and to investigating the level of ubiquity of light-emitting diode (LED) technology. It is found that the damage potential of lighting is considered most commonly in terms of lux dosage, that a minimum cut off in terms of CIE-Ra is used to specify lighting ‘quality’, and that LED usage is growing, primarily as a result of institution-wide energy use reduction drives. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
A Companion to Museum Studies captures the multidisciplinary approach to the study of the development, roles, and significance of museums in contemporary society. Collects first-rate original essays by leading figures from a range of disciplines and theoretical stances, including anthropology, art history, history, literature, sociology, cultural studies, and museum studies. Examines the complexity of the museum from cultural, political, curatorial, historical and representational perspectives. Covers traditional subjects, such as space, display, buildings, objects and collecting, and more contemporary challenges such as visiting, commerce, community and experimental exhibition forms.
The digital revolution fundamentally changed how cultural heritage is created, documented, analyzed, and preserved. The book focuses on this transformation's impact. How must museums and archives meet the challenges of digitally generated cultures and how does the digital revolution influence traditional object collection, research, and education? How do digital technologies and digital art and culture affect our interaction with images? Leading international experts from various disciplines break new ground. Pioneering interdisciplinary research results collected in this book are relevant to education, curators and archivists in the arts and culture sector and in the digital humanities.
This book invites the reader to understand how culture is used to regenerate and promote urban and countryside locations, making them into today's visitor destinations. These exhibitory sites are discussed within the context of key social, economic and cultural transformations, including contemporary practices of tourism and travel, strategies of economic development and urban renewal, the turn to living history and interactivity in heritage and museums, and the performance and staging of identities in a globalised world. The book critically discusses how culture becomes transformed in these processes and practices. In each chapter, important theoretical issues are addressed and key debates set out, such as questions of cultural authenticity, commodification, locality and representation.
Artificial lighting was first introduced into a national museum just over 100 years ago, and during the ensuing period there have been radical changes in its mode of application. Museums vary in style of architecture and in the nature and display of their exhibits so that the preparation of a standard code of lighting practice would be no easy task. Both the visiting public and museum authorities, however, have become “lighting-minded” and consequently lighting is now accepted as indispensable in modern display technique.
An earlier paper has described a new method to optimise the spectral power distribution of solid state lighting systems used in museums. This paper will discuss the question of the selection of the test samples used for the spectral power distribution optimisation for the illumination of renaissance paintings. For fine tuning the spectrum the help of museum curators was needed, who remember the appearance of the pictures under traditional light sources and who were able to advise lighting engineers to tune the spectrum to obtain a pleasing appearance. The paper will show the results obtained by testing the optimum spectrum in the museum. Part 1 of the present publication dealt with a new method to optimise the spectral power distribution of Solid State Lighting systems used in museums. Part 2 will discuss the question of test samples for the illumination of renaissance paintings and will show results obtained by testing the optimum spectrum in the museum.