Dusting the Sistine

On  the 19th of November, 2013 the restoration team from the Vatican Museums’ Painting Restoration Laboratory commenced conservational work on one of the most prized jewels of the Vatican: the Sistine Chapel.  The prime focus of their work is the dusting and careful conservation of the side frescoes, which were painted at the end of the XV Century by the some of the most famous painters of all time, including Perugino and Botticelli. These fantastic masterpieces were already restored for the 2000 Jubilee thanks to the generosity of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. However, due to the thousands of people who come to marvel at this treasure each day, constant conservation and upkeep is vital. In the images below you can see Marco Pratelli and Fabio Piacentini, who supervised the entire restoration team, braving the heights to carefully examine the completed conservation work.


Ancient Graveyard buried under Vatican City opens to the Public

It is with great excitement that we announce the opening of the Santa Rosa Necropolis to the public today! During the construction of the Vatican underground parking lot in the 1950’s, workers discovered a fantastically preserved Necropolis. Thanks to the generosity of our Canadian Patrons, the excavation site was connected to another discovery of ruins in 2003. The public will now have the chance to enjoy the beautifully presented Necropolis, with two fascinating introductory videos on the history of the excavations and the process of restoration, lit walk ways, and interactive screens at each stop station. Congratulations to curators, Dr. Giandomenico Spinola, Dr. Leonardo di Blasi and Dr. Monica Ricciardi who worked tirelessly to head the restoration as well as all those who have supported its conservation over the years.

The event got a lot of media attention in Italy! Here are some articles in the Italian journals:

La Repubblica

Il Tempo

Il Messagero

Vatican Museums Website



Chapter Events: Illinois 2014

The Illinois Chapter Has an exciting group of activities for 2014 in the works. They have decided to give their events a different flavor.

-There are three events in the works for the Patrons hosted by three members in their homes.

-Home of the Junior Patrons: In late February: The Associates’ Board (the Junior Board) is organizing an event on Rush
Street (the proposed dates are Feb 20th or Feb 27th)

For more information or to attend an event, please contact Chapter President, Anne Shea.

Conservator…or Contortionist?

Restorers have to master many talents–they are scientists, historians and of course, artists. But who knew they have to have a touch of maverick–acrobatic and balancing skills, dexterity and a bit of finesse.

Restorer, Ignacio Gonzalez Panicello, is pictured dangling over the back of Marco Palmezzano’s Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome, an incredible late 15th century painting currently undergoing restoration thanks to the generosity of the Strange Trust of the Michigan Chapter.

It calls to mind the visual of how Michelangelo himself must have been in a similar but inverted compromising position when painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel…