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  • Interior Design and Architecture
  • Product Design

Lighting for art

L'illuminazione delle opere d'arte nelle mostre e nei musei



Every year in Italy a countless number of exhibitions are held frequented by millions of visitors eager to admire artworks illuminated by natural or artificial light. Artificial light has the fundamental task of making the artworks on display enjoyable, but indoors it performs many other functions as is also used to mark spaces, to highlight paths, and allow the reading of captions and graphics.
Lighting an Artwork represents one of the most important and most complete goals of the lighting design practice. It combines the theoretical knowledge of light science with the aesthetic sensibility necessary for the right interpretation of the pieces.   The exhibition lighting also analyzes different project scales because it can be extended to the lighting of large and complex exhibition and also concentrate on lighting a minuscular artwork. It also invests different spheres of intervention, from the public one of the museums, to the organizational one of the temporary exhibitions, or even to the private one, including the art galleries and the houses of the collectors.
But illuminating well an artwork presupposes articulated and specific technical knowledge that is gained through years of experience and that cannot be learned by simply reading the common texts of lighting design books and magazines.

The purpose of the course is to transmit the knowledge learned over time by one of the most famous Italian Lighting Designers, Francesco Murano, which was acquired through the lighting of thousands of masterpieces created by the greatest Italian and foreign artists.


Training objectives

The workshop offers a collective experience that allows participants to follow the design process and the practical experimentation of the methods used to illuminate works of art.
The projects will be developed in the rooms of the Spazio Natta already set up with complete lighting systems. The workshop will end with the lighting of some works of art placed in the Pinacoteca of the Municipality of Como.

Didactic Plan

  • Wednesday, – Introduction to the argument – 8h
  • Thursday,  –  The lighting calculation – 8h
  • Friday,  – The analysis of the exhibition space – 8h
  • Saturday,  – The  Lighting Project – 8h
  • Sunday,  – The Drafting of the project – 8h
  • Monday,  – The Project execution – 8h
  • Tuesday, – Guided tour to an Art exhibition (4h) and distribution of diplomas at Poli.Design (Milano Bovisa) in the afternoon.

Didactic Modules

Theory – General Concepts

  • The characteristics of the sources
  • The usable sources
  • The color temperature
  • Lighting fixtures
  • The opening of the light beam
  • The illuminances

Lighting an artwork

  • Preliminary actions
  • Understanding of the critical approach adopted by the curator
  • Sharing of the exhibition project
  • The lightscape
  • The study of the exhibited works
  • Design choices
  • The particular features of the exhibition space
  • The position, size and type of individual works
  • The captions and texts
  • The position of the tracks
  • Light intensity
  • Knowledge of lighting levels
  • Luxmeters
  • The lighting systems supplied
  • The appliances supplied in the exhibition area
  • DALI systems
  • Ambient lighting
  • The lighting of the sculptures
  • Captions and texts lighting

Specific problems, how to avoid them and how to solve them

  • Direct glare
  • Indirect glare
  • The reflections on dark paintings
  • Non-polarized glass reflections
  • The reflections of the cases
  • The shadows of the edges of the cases
  • The shadows of the frames on the paintings
  • The shadows of the frames on the walls
  • A painting and a drawing very close together
  • The walls on which the works are placed are light in color
  • The walls of the works have a glossy finish
  • Light creates shadows caused by display structures
  • The display structures cover the tracks
  • The tracks are not where they should be
  • There are no lighting systems
  • It is not possible to install any lighting system
  • The blur
  • The aimings
  • The light beam is too narrow
  • The light beam is too wide
  • The light that hits the work is excessive
  • The light that hits the work is too hot or too cold
  • The aesthetic satisfaction

Title Released

At the end of the course a certificate of attendance and Open Badge will be issued to the course issued by

Employment Opportunities

The course provides all the useful information to be able to illuminate an artwork, a temporary exhibition, a museum or a gallery and it is essential to check and verify that the lighting of the works is well executed.



The course is aimed at professionals in the Cultural and Museum Heritage sector, museum directors, exhibition curators, architects and exhibition designers, private collectors, local administrators responsible for cultural services but also to all those who want to learn about the golden rules and the best methods used to illuminate and enhance an artwork.


The cost of the course is € 1,750.00 + VAT.

* Partial exemptions of 20% on the partecipation fee for ASBAI members. Members must present a document certifying their membership registration.