LED lighting not harmful for old paintings, study says

February 04, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A recent study conducted by a research team at the University of Perugia shows that artificial lighting can be harmful for old paintings. In particular light in the blue and ultraviolet part of the spectrum accelerated the aging process of van Gogh paintings, in particular the yellow parts of the paintings. This Italian study caused light researchers from the Darmstadt Technical University to dig into the impact of light type to paintings.

The research team around Professor Tranh Quoc Khan and Peter Bodrogi investigated the spectral distribution of 118 luminaries, including LEDs, CFLs, incandescent bulbs as well as daylight and the impact of these lighting systems to paintings. In particular they analysed the impact of blue light in the spectrum between 335nm and 525nm as well as in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum between 240nm and 400nm. In accordance with the results of the team of the Perugia University they found that white LEDs in contrast to other light sources do not exhibit significant UV radiation. They also do not have a higher radiation in the blue part of the spectrum compared to the other light sources used in the study. Quite the contrary - the emission of blue light is lower in LED light than in natural daylight.

The researchers believe that these results prove that LED light meets the highest requirements in terms of color reproduction and can be used safely in art museums.