In Rome earlier this week, through the good auspices of a friend, I was fortunate to be able to see behind the scenes at the Vatican Museums. It was interesting to see the paintings in restoration and understand some of the techniques used to preserve them. Including lifting whole paintings off the wood on which they had been painted and re-applying the painted surface to canvas. A technique done in water but hugely costly and time-consuming.
The altar piece above - a twelfth century work - caught my attention, along with a little piece of it I can't help sharing and hope that the comments are not too hostile!
The piece is divided into horizontal sections depicting Heaven above, earth in the middle and Hell below. In the lower right hand corner the souls in torment are depicted with their sins written next to them - murderer, thief, etc. A group of women is pictured with their terrible sin described:
Women who chatter in church!
Of course, I'm shocked by that and think the category should be extended to men as well!
Seeing the Vatican Library corridors without the hordes chattering through them gives a renewed sense of their grandeur and beauty.
Fr Mark Haydu, International Diretor of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums shows how poor a condition some of the paintings are in.