It is well known that artworks exposed in museums or galleries can be damaged by infrared and ultraviolet radiation.
Moreover, if not properly protected, these precious paintings or sculptures can be also damaged by vandalism acts.
Coated glasses can actually deal with both these problems. They can also improve the artworks viewing if an
antireflection feature is realized. However such optical coatings should not affect color viewing. In this study we
describe a new prototype of coating and investigate, by mean of psychophysical experiments, how it affects color
perception relative to uncoated glass as well as commercial coating products made up by many coating layers (up to
50). Our results show that color discrimination in the condition in which colors were viewed through our coating
prototype turned out in being better than in the experimental condition in which uncoated glass was used and
surprisingly at least as efficient as the more expensive commercial coated glasses.
Many optical methods are nowadays in use in the field of art. Most techniques are applied for characterization of materials, monitoring, diagnostics. Optical thin films can find an interesting application for artwork protection from the damage induced by illumination. The deteriorating effect of light on artworks is well known and the conventional approach to reduce the damage consists in lowering the radiation intensity and shortening the exposure duration. A complementary approach is to block all radiations that are not useful for viewing the artwork. A proper optical coating deposited on glass is able to cut the radiation flux at all wavelengths outside the range of sensitivity of the human eye. Glass is already in use in museum and galleries to protect artwork from vandalism and the use of coated glass can result in a simple method for contributing to art conservation. The optical coating will also improve the viewing because of the antireflection effect that can be combined with the protection properties. Particular care must be taken of this aspect because a compromise between conservation rules and visitor satisfaction must be reached. It is important that the thin-film coating does not introduce color alterations from the point of view of the observer and for this reason color testing on coated glasses must be carried out with real viewers.
The deteriorating effect of light on artworks exposed in museums and galleries has been noticed for many years. A number of methods, which act on the illumination source, are presently in use to reduce the damage. A complementary approach is proposed here that consists in blocking the radiation, outside the range of sensitivity of the human eye, before it reaches the artwork. This result can be achieved by an optical coating deposited on the glass pane that is usually put in front of the artworks to protect them from vandalism. In addition to the preservation from illumination induced damage, the proposed coating is also able to improve the observation of the artwork by reducing the reflection effects of uncoated glass. Optical, colorimetric and psychophysical measurements on test samples are reported.
A device to monitor museum lighting has been developed and tested. It allows to control in real time both Visible and UV spectra. The device monitors, using five different channels, the color rendering of a lamp and the ultraviolet part of the spectrum impinging on exhibit objects. The control on color balancing of illumination allows to avoid the use of aged or deteriorate lamps. The continuous monitoring of UV and blue radiation is fundamental for avoiding serious damages on the exposed artwork. The device is compact, cheap and simple: it could be used in museums to control room illumination or it can be placed near important artworks to provide their lighting history.