Father and son Patrons, Joe and Peter Lomax, enjoyed a wonderful visit to the Vatican Museums on March 15, 2016. Upon arriving at the Patron’s Entrance at 8:00 AM, they were cheerfully greeted by Samantha de Carolis, their guide for the day. After starting the tour with the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms, they went to the Restoration studios. On display in the Paintings Restoration Laboratory was a nearly fully restored painting by Lorenzo Lotto of the whole extended Holy Family on a picnic with Jesus and John the Baptist.
In the Ceramics and Metals Restoration Lab they saw a unique Etruscan painted ceramic brazier which matches the Lomax’s interest in the Etruscans and Joe’s job as an inorganic chemist. The white paint on the ceramic was added after firing, and the black splotches were a manganese oxide that formed while it was buried. The chemistry of the splotches removal was as subtle as it was effective.
After the Restoration Labs, they met with Gabriella Lalatta and all proceeded to the Mosaic Studio of the Fabricca di San Pietro. Those who have met Gabriella know she is a force of nature and one is pulled along in the slip-screen of her wake.
Ropes fell and Swiss Guards opened doors as they made it down a staircase, across the portico of St. Peter’s, by the Sacristia and finally to the Mosaic Studio. To their delight, they met Fr. Daniel Hennessey, L.C., the newly appointed International Director of the Vatican Patrons Office.
He, like Gabriella, made a special point of coming to see the Mosaic Studio, and it immediately became obvious why. As you see, they are by a rendering of a Raphael Madonna, Child and Baptist with bird. The exquisite art is seen in this close-up.
Having seen other mosaicists at work, for example this one making a rendering of a Monet, they thanked the artists at the studio, said good bye to Samantha and Gabriella, they headed back towards the Museums with Fr. Daniel. They finished in one of Joe’s favorite parts, the Etruscan Museum in another magical day in the Vatican Museums.
Posted on June 7, 2016