New Restoration Project 2024

The Board of Directors of the Washington DC Chapter is proud to announce the adoption of a new project for 2024:


Artist: Unknown
Date: 140-60 A.D.
Dimensions: 67 cm h
Materials: White marble
Inventory Number: 255

The portrait depicts Faustina Major (the Elder), who married Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 A.D.). In 138 A.D. Faustina received the title of Augusta in 138 A.D. and was deified soon after she died in 141 A.D. The Vatican specimen is one of the best portraits of the empress, which was also used for postmortem depictions.
During the excavations conducted by Gavin Hamilton in the locality known as Pantanello, the head was discovered in 1769 in an area located near the Greek Theater of the Grand Villa Adriana where, probably as early as late antiquity, marbles of the villa’s sculptural furnishings had accumulated.
An effigy of Faustina must have decorated one of the rooms of Villa Adriana, testifying to the constant attendance of the imperial family in the residence during the 2nd century A.D. In 1776, the artifact was sold to Pius VI and mounted on a bust executed by the papal restorer Giovanni Pierantoni. The sculpture was displayed in the Sala Rotonda in the Vatican Museums, where it is seen today.

State of Preservation

The sculpture appears opaque and darkened due to the presence of consistent deposits. There are areas with various stains and inhomogeneities on the surface of the head (of ancient workmanship) and the bust (of modern age). There are also cracks, fractures, and small and medium-sized lacunae.

Restoration Procedures

  • Structural verification of the bond between the torso and head
  • Dry removal of incoherent surface deposits with specific micro vacuum cleaners and paint brushes
  • A cleaning plan will be determined after the analytical testing
  • Integrate the stucco and micro stucco work with suitable materials compatible with the original
  • Perform localized chromatic balancing to restore harmony for reading the work
  • A final application of a protective coat will complete the restoration

Posted on May 19, 2024

Restoration report


The Conservation and Maintenance of the Santa Rosa Necropolis, Feb. 2024

The project included restoration, routine maintenance, and prompt interventions carried out mainly by the Painting Restoration Laboratory. The unsafe environmental situation, detected in February 2023, was solved and the area was cleaned; this allowed restorers to restart activities, although with delays to the planned schedule.
In the second half of 2023, restorer Rossana Giardina performed maintenance and minor interventions on the monuments. In parallel, Dr. Stefania Bani, a biologist at the Scientific Research Laboratory, monitored the environmental situation.
In addition to periodic conservation activities, the project included the restoration of Sepulchre II, which began in the fall and was not completed in December 2023 due to organizational problems in setting up the site and using the laser needed for the restoration. The restoration of the adjacent sepulchers XVII and XVIII of the Santa Rosa sector is postponed to a later intervention.

In the first phase, the restorer prepared a report noting all critical conservation issues, quantifying time and costs, and specifying the necessary work phases. The restoration intervention in the sepulcher II, Santa Rosa Section, involves four macro phases:

Cleaning Process

  • Removal of earthy deposits from all surfaces.
  • Removal/extraction of salts, from painted surfaces and curtains.
  • Thickness reduction of the most tenacious encrustations by mechanical means, scalpel, and microdrill.
  • Chemical cleaning to soften irrelevant layers
  • Cleaning with laser technology, protecting the painted surface with Nevek gel


  • In-depth consolidation of plaster detachments and pozzolanic preparatory layer using TB1
  • Surface consolidation for superficial detachments, with nano lime


  • Conservative under-level grouting with suitable mortar composed of color-differentiated marble powders and lime putty
  • Level grouting made to reconstruct the modeling of the stuccoes (e.g., in the shell on the bottom side)

Chromatic Reintegration
Chromatic reintegration is carried out only where strictly necessary to enhance the decorative legibility. The restorer has adopted an “archaeological” criterion.

The intervention is in progress, and the restorer is proceeding as follows:

  • Removing the soil deposits and soluble salts
  • Cleaning with the Eos Combo laser
  • Performing consolidations on the three walls in the lower register and inside the niches where the ollae are located.

In the upper register of the left wall during the first cleaning phase, traces of color were found that could be evidence of plant motif decoration. Currently, given the lack of legibility, this hypothesis cannot be confirmed until scientific analysis is performed, which hopefully will reveal the expected result. The
restorer made sub-level fillings to prevent further loss of original material in the white plaster gaps. The stuccoes, while recognizable, are very similar in composition and color to the original.

Below are some images of the restoration:

Posted on February 26, 2024

40th Anniversary of the Patrons

The Washington DC Chapter is excited to invite all of its members to a special trip to Rome to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Patrons! Events in Rome will be from Monday, November 6 through Friday, November 10, 2023. The plans include private tours of the Museums, a visit to the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo (including the Apostolic Palace, the Gardens, and the Observatory), Mass and a reception at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, an audience with the Holy Father, and Vespers in the Sistine Chapel followed by a gala dinner inside the Museums. 

Please send an email to if you have any questions. 

Ci vediamo a Roma! 


Posted on March 5, 2023


The Washington DC Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums
has arranged for a private tour of the Apostolic Nunciature of the United States of America

Saturday, May 20, 2023
10 am

Brother Joseph Britt, CFX, Archivist of the Vatican Embassy, has graciously offered to give our Chapter a private tour of the artwork in the Nunciature.

Patrons and guests are welcome!

The tour will take approximately 1.5 hours. A donation of $20 is requested. We will meet at the Nunciature: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC at 10 am.

After the tour, we are planning on going to lunch at DeCarlo’s Restaurant, located at:
4000 Cathedral Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016. More details coming soon.

Please RSVP to or by calling (202)460-4945 by May 7th.
You can purchase your tickets here: TICKETS
We hope you can join us for this very special and unique opportunity!

Posted on March 4, 2023

New Restoration Project 2023

The Board of Directors of the Washington DC Chapter is proud to announce the adoption of a new project for 2023: 

Conservation and Maintenance of the Santa Rosa Necropolis


This project will offer visitors a wonderful chance to explore an ancient burial site from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD. The work in this project will include:

  • A scientific analysis to assess the state of preservation of sepulchers, artwork, sarcophagi, and urns
  • A complete dusting of all architectural elements and artwork
  • Reassembly of stuccoes on the ceilings of four Columbari (Sepulchers II, III, XVII, and XVIII)
  • An in-depth study and restoration of the area and elements around the Tomb of Alcimus (the scenographer of Emperor Nero), which has been affected by microbiologial attacks

The total cost of the project is $27,762.55

Thanks to your generosity we are able to sponsor such an important project! More details about this restoration will be posted soon. 



Posted on December 12, 2022

Castel Gandolfo, Part 1

Enjoy the 1st episode of the new Insiders Course for free!

Castel Gandolfo, Part 1 (Gardens and Villa Barberini). 

There is still time to register for the New Season! Click Here to find out more by downloading our program. 


Posted on November 21, 2022

PAVM Insiders Course – New Season

Don’t miss out on the chance to discover the past, present, and future of the faith, the art, and the overwhelming beauty of the Vatican City State.

Join a global and unique community of learners.

Mystery, Genius, Beauty and Faith are waiting for you!

Click Here for a preview of the New Season.



Posted on November 20, 2022


The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums 2021 Annual Black Tie Dinner was a great success!  His Excellency, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, graciously hosted the Washington DC Chapter at the Apostolic Nunciature. Being our first gathering since 2019, all were eager to once again enjoy each other’s company. 

The evening kicked off with a festive cocktail hour and concluded with a sumptuous three-course meal held in the Nunciature’s grand Dining Room.  During dessert, PAVM International Director, Fr. Kevin Lixey, L.C., gave an update on the Vatican Museums after struggling through Covid. In closing, Fr. Lixey presented former longtime Chapter Leaders, CEM & Judy Martin, with a limited edition print of the Vatican Museums along with a thank you letter from museum director, Barbara Yatta.  We are all extremely grateful to the 19-years of service that CEM & Judy donated to the Patrons. 

Please Click Here to see pictures of this wonderful event! 

Posted on December 14, 2021