Join Megumi Nishikawa from Ritsumeikan University for a lunchtime seminar in the Fitzwilliam Museum.

“My research focuses on the psychological study of the optimal viewing environments and methods for artworks. Three studies have been conducted thus far. In Study 1, I investigated the effect of lighting on the impressions of paintings. Museum lighting is rather dark compared to everyday lighting, but the results suggested that this is not optimal for accentuating the beauty of artworks. However, it is practically difficult to increase brightness because artworks are damaged by intense light. Therefore, I proposed special glasses that attenuate light with wavelengths of approximately 585 nm as tools to appreciate the beauty of paintings, instead of changing the illumination. In Study 2, I investigated the effects of wearing special glasses (NeoContrast, Mitsui Chemicals) on the impressions of color charts under the same lighting conditions as that of museums. It was found that these glasses made a variety of chromatic colors more vivid and beautiful, whereas the vividness of colorimetric values was almost unchanged. The results suggested that these glasses are effective to appreciate paintings. In Study 3, I investigated the effect of wearing these glasses on the impressions of paintings. I conducted the experiment in a laboratory that replicated an exhibition room, and conducted preliminary research in a real museum. The results showed that, in the laboratory, there was little or no effect of wearing special glasses on the beauty of paintings, but, in a real museum, the paintings looked more beautiful. The results are still under investigation, including differences in environment and methods.”

This seminar will be chaired by Dr Leo Impett.

The event is sponsored by the Higher Values Project. If you would like further information on this and related projects please get in touch with Dr Jasmina Stevanov at


Speaker Bio:

Megumi Nishikawa is a PhD student at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. She majors in Psychology, and graduated at the top of my faculty in her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ritsumeikan. Her research theme is the optimal viewing environment and methods for artwork. She focuses on investigating the effects of museum lighting, as well as the effects of wearing special glasses as tools to appreciate the beauty of paintings. Because there are only a few researchers who study the psychology of art in Japan, she would like to use her knowledge of psychology to discover new possibilities for art exhibition and appreciation.