The Laboratory’s daily work is focused mostly on works from the different museum departments. Projects for restoration and conservation are undertaken regarding both works on permanent display and those in storage. The works chosen to be sent to national and international exhibitions are monitored and placed in secure conditions for the transit phase.
The level of deterioration of the paper support is determined by the characteristics intrinsic to the material itself, by the type of materials used on it (such as inks and pigments) and, above all, the conservation conditions. For these reasons, before undertaking any procedure, the works are studied in terms of their production techniques and constitutive materials. The overview is completed by research regarding the identification and characterisation of pigments carried out by the Vatican Museums Diagnostic Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration.
The damage found most frequently is due to insect attacks, the alteration of the support due to phenomena of photo-oxidation, the deformation of the support (leading in some cases to a loss of parts) and finally detachment and decohesion of pigments.
With the aid of the most advanced technologies, the restorers favour procedures as minimally invasive as possible, to promote the recovery of the unity of the work.
The materials used and tested for conservation, such as papers, glues and cardboards, guarantee the full reversibility of the intervention.