Wednesday, November 14, 2007

the new Wrightsman Galleries at the Met



On my tour I took a quick spin through the newly redone Wrightsman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum. I have always loved these rooms, and the new re installation is subtle and beautiful, at a quick glance nothing has changed, but be in them for a few minutes and you see the changes. First, they are even more dimly lit than before, but clever spots shed light just where you need it to see particular objects or details in the rooms. However, as I gazed upon the white and gold rococo room, I was struck by how real the candles looked. First and most important the quality of light was identical to natural candles and then unnervingly, with a gust of air, the flames moved, identically to the way real candle flames do. I was a little startled, and was wondering how they got away with real candle flames, after all this is a museum, when closer examination of a torchere close to me revealed that these are the cleverest and best simulated candles I have ever seen. As I gazed upon the candles, a gust of air blew and I realized that the bulbs pivot so that the natural movement of a candle flame is matched. Below are some photos that attempt to capture the feeling of the rooms, but with my iphone and the low light levels they are not very clear.
This is the torchere that first caught my eye, and where I realized the incredible candle flame light bulbs that pivot. Very importantly they also match the light output of a real candle flame, which most electric bulbs do not.

This lovely room, late 18th Century, has always appealed to me because of its intimate scale and classically inspired decor. Here the lighting comprises those clever candle bulbs and beautifully simulate indirect daylight.

I ask my readers who know, where can you get these light bulbs? Try googling and all you get are the cheap ugly ones we all know.
Now I will have to go back to the Wrightsman Galleries and look at the art and furniture again, one thing the Met did was put out some pieces that had not been on view before.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom,
Did anyone ever answer your question in regard to the bulbs? I recently visited the gallery and came away with the same impression of the lighting. It made me realize how poorly lit my home is. please, if you were to get any information, e-mail me.

Regards,

Tracey

Toms art report said...

Thank you for asking Tracey. In fact, the person who is the head of display at the Met, who I happen to know, did tell me. It is a company called, "The Electric Candle Company". I did google them, and they have a website. Well worth looking into, and a great invention.
I personally don't have enough candelabra type fixtures to need them.
Tom