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Artists

in the frame

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

 

Find out how LED projectors showed a mysterious artist’s work in a unique light.

Philips lighting at Hercules Segers in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

 

Many people said it was the
best-designed
exhibition
in the museum so far."

 

-Christian Borstlap, Exhibition Designer 

Philips lighting at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Philips lighting at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Customer challenge

 

An exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam presented the work of a little-known artist, Hercules Segers. In order to pinpoint his unique talents and approach, the museum needed an interesting way to display each piece.

Philips lighting at Hercules Segers in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The right lighting 

 

Although Segers is described as an “artist’s artist” (Rembrandt owned eight of his paintings), he is little known today. His work is distinctly different to that of most artists from the Dutch Golden Age, featuring mountainous landscapes developed purely from imagination. To do justice to Segers, the Rijksmuseum decided to highlight his work’s uniqueness.

 

Designer Christian Borstlap, from creative studio Part of a Bigger Plan, wanted to create a unique atmosphere throughout the exhibition. He started with a dramatic video introduction, which was narrated by actor John Malkovich and projected onto a 9m x 6m staircase.

 

One of the major effects Bortslap wanted to achieve was to frame the paintings using only light. This would be difficult considering many of the pieces were no bigger than postcards. The paper artwork was also delicate, so light levels could not exceed 50 lux. 

 

“Finding the right framing projector was challenging, as the throwing distance was almost seven meters”, explained Sjoerd van Beers of lighting designer Beersnielsen. “The framing had to be very precise, and we were afraid that the light would tremble.”

 

Beersnielsen compared a number of fixtures before selecting the StyliD PerfectBeam Framing Projector. It was then customized to fit the project’s challenging requirements: the light output was increased, straight knives were used instead of curved knives, and a lens with a moveable focus was used. 

 

To maximize contrast around the artwork, the background was made as dark as possible, with dark-grey walls and carpets, and blankets over the skylights. And to create depth in the space, some walls were painted a lighter grey and illuminated with grazing lights. Text panels were subtly backlit and low ambient light was added to help visitors walk around safely.

 

The challenging project took Beersnielsen 60 hours to light the space instead of the usual 30, but it was worth it. Borstlap said that there were many five-star reviews that mentioned the design, and “many people said it was the best-designed exhibition in the museum so far.” Guests also voted with their feet, making numerous repeat visits.

  • StyliD PerfectBeam
    StyliD PerfectBeam
    StyliD PerfectBeam has been developed specifically for museum applications. It strikes the perfect balance between presenting art and preserving it, between ever-changing exhibitio...
    • Superior light quality – making visible what the artist intended
    • Optimal art preservation – protecting precious exhibits
    • Maximum beam flexibility – adapting to changing exhibition needs

Bringing unknown art
out of the shadows

The Team

Rijksmuseum 

Client

To Website

Part of a Bigger Plan

Exhibition Designer

To Website

Beersnielsen

Lighting Designer

To Website

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