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Will Sunlight Harm An Oil Painting?

Yes, oil paintings can be hung in direct sunlight. Oil paintings, as opposed to works on paper such as watercolours and prints, are far more durable. However, when selecting a location for your prized possessions, exercise caution.

While a well-lit room is fine for oil paintings, you should avoid putting them in a place where the temperature changes quickly or frequently. You should also avoid placing them in an area that receives direct afternoon sun glare. Heat fluctuations and strong sun rays can be harmful to the health of your artwork.

UV rays should be shielded from all artwork. They are electromagnetic radiation from the sun and are also known as ultraviolet rays. UV rays are what cause your skin to tan or burn in hot weather, resulting in skin damage. Your paintings are equally vulnerable to damage from this source, which is why direct sunlight is never recommended and UV filtering techniques are best practice. More information about protecting your artwork from sunlight can be found here.

Over a long period of time, too much sunlight can cause chemical changes in paint. Green tones that were historically laced with copper may turn brown under these rays, and blue pigments may fade into a muted grey. If you see these changes occurring over time, your painting is almost certainly being affected by the light positioning in your home. 


Why Do Oil Paintings Fade And What Can Be Done To Prevent It?

  • Quality of Pigments

Did you know that oil paints are a combination of pigments and drying oils like linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil? This is done to give a masterpiece’s color contour an excellent blending property. Long-term exposure of linseed oil to direct heat from gas ovens, chimneys, fireplaces, and other sources oxidizes the paint, causing fading and loss of vibrancy. Though modern oil colors are quite good and do not oxidize easily due to the technology involved, it is prudent to consider the lightfast property of a painting’s color pigment. High-quality artwork with Grade I and Grade II color pigments is recognized.

  • Powerful Element Of Nature

It is never a good idea to hang an oil painting in a place where it can get too much sun. Any paint that has been exposed to sunlight for several hours will fade due to the presence of UV rays. You may have constructed a glass shield to prevent fading, but you should be aware that even filtered sun rays cause significant damage. Sunlight can cause irreversible damage to oil paintings, ranging from loss of sheen and vibrancy to darkening of the varnish. Excessive heat can cause the painting to crack.

  • Surface and the Framing

The acidity in the canvas causes the painting to yellow and become paler over time. To avoid this painting problem, it is recommended that you use an acid-free canvas. Many artists prefer acid-free cotton rags that are 100 percent cotton. 

  • Positioning the artwork is also an art form

Artwork placement is crucial to preventing fading. Keep your painting away from direct sunlight and heat sources in your home to prevent it from fading. Additionally, this increases the artwork’s durability, making it a timeless piece of art.

  • Optical Reflection Glass

UV-protected glass or museum glass can also be used to reduce the intensity of sunlight hitting your artwork. Oil paintings can be protected with special glass that reduces sun damage to a certain extent.

  • Varnish to the Rescue

As well as adding vibrancy and richness, varnishing protects artworks from the elements of nature. In order to prevent the oxidation of oil in colors, oil paintings should be varnished only after they have fully dried. It’s now possible to varnish paintings with an impermeable layer of air that allows them to dry, thanks to advances in technology. When painting normally takes between 6 months and 2 years, this method can be used if you don’t want to wait that long for the paint to dry.

The Marshall Gallery 2

By Dru Bloomfield –, CC BY 2.0,

Are You Looking for Contemporary Art to Complement Your Home?

The Marshall Gallery, located in Scottsdale’s Historic Arts District, has been the center of contemporary art since its founding in 1998. Boasting a collection of paintings, sculptures, and exquisite glass pieces, the gallery hosts several exhibitions each year plus a biennial glass invitational that attracts top-notch talent. Here you will find exceptional art presented in an open and relaxed gallery space, which is perfect for browsing the ever-changing collection. Explore on your own, or allow our expert art consultants to offer complimentary assistance to find the perfect addition to your own collection. Looking for the perfect piece of art to complement your home’s decor? Visit us in person or browse our online art store!