Travelling Exhibition: An inside view of the Restoration of the Masterpieces of the Vatican Collection

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IMG_5965An exhibition of art is by definition a public show of works of art which aims to attract the viewer’s attention to a specific object. The restoration, which is a fundamental part of the preservation and maintenance of any work of art, is an operation usually ignored in an exhibition. Exhibitions usually opt to display the perfect, final state of various pieces. Would it not be interesting to understand how the work of a restorer is articulated, and the role that these specialists play? Wouldn’t it be interesting to explore what great responsibility they have towards society and future generations? Wouldn’t it be instructive to learn the correct and responsible conservative approaches used for the preservation of historical and artistic heritage in Italy and in the world? To create an exhibition in which works of art are complemented by materials and restoration tools, in which videos and photographs illustrate techniques and conservative procedures, would be a unique show of great interest.

IMG_5948The goal of such an exhibition is to share with as many visitors as possible, not only objects of priceless artistic and anthropological value, but the logic and purpose behind the restoration promoted and implemented within the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums have six Restoration Laboratories specialized in six distinct areas and artistic mediums: Painting, Stone Materials, Metals and Ceramics, Polimateric, Paper and Tapestries. The Department of Scientific Research completes chemical and physical studies in all of these labs using the most up to date tools. In creating a virtual laboratory, through an exhibition it would possible to reveal an artistic and scientific behind the scenes happenings of inestimable educational and social value.
When we talk about the restoration of the Museum’s collection, we are talking about the heart and soul of the institution; even if it is invisible to the tourists, it is the one that enlivens our museums and our collections. In this project, the visitor, for the first time will have the privileged access to a virtual laboratory where they can follow the steps of restoration and see the invisible. The renovation of the Art Gallery, scheduled for the end of the Jubilee 2015-16, would make the works preserved in the Pinacoteca available for the exhibition, allowing us to exhibit paintings, sculptures, tapestries/Textiles, Decorative Arts, Ethnology/Polimateric, Egyptian, Etruscan. The exhibition would occur in 2017 (assuming a full year of organization to collect works of arts from the Pinacoteca, movies, materials, and to creat a catalogue) and would have as primary place of exposure in the United States of America. Many of the works on display are those restored by the Patrons of the Arts.