Although Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, it has one of the most stunning collections of Old Masters art anywhere on the planet. However, the impressive array of works – which include those by the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci – require constant care to keep them looking their best.
Take Vatican City’s arguably most famous artwork, for example: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, created between 1508 and 1512. Commissioned by Pope Julius II, the exquisitely detailed paintings were in sore need of restoration at the time of a 1979 investigation.
After analysis, the ceiling was found to have been stained by the smoke from thousands of candles; it had also suffered at the hands of water leakage. Fortunately, though, Michelangelo’s work had stood the test of time well, even with its coating of grime and grease.