Currently a part of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Conservation and Diagnostics Laboratories were originally established to confront the conservation issues following the flood of 4 November 1966. We owe their creation to the then superintendent Francesco Valcanover and the generous support of many Italian and international foundations as well as the Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice. At first, the laboratories were housed in the church of San Gregorio (Conservation Laboratory) and an adjacent building (Documentation Centre and Diagnostics Laboratory). They were gradually moved to the Santa Maria della Misericordia complex from 1982. Between 1992 and 2001, four distinct conservation departments were established, specialising in different types of artefacts: paintings on canvas and wood panel, paper, metalwork, and stone artefacts. The large hall on the first floor is where work on the biggest canvases is carried out.
The Conservation Laboratories have for decades been treating and restoring artwork from both the state museums located in Venice, as well as from the Church and across the Veneto region, and they stand out as a centre of excellence in the field of heritage conservation and research. Before and during the course of all restoration projects, conservators can avail themselves of support from the Diagnostics Laboratory. The co-existence of the Conservation and Diagnostics Laboratories facilitates a fruitful exchange of knowledge between the various specialists (art historians, conservators–restorers, chemists, biologists) and ensures the correct execution of the conservation work. The experts of the Diagnostics Laboratory examine the different artefacts to determine their state of preservation and alteration, as well as identify the painting materials and techniques by means of non-invasive procedures (IR reflectography, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy), as well as micro-invasive techniques on both stratigraphic sections and other types of micro-samples (optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with micro-analysis, FT-IR spectroscopy). Diagnostics plays a fundamental role in the selection and development of methods which are respectful of the artefacts.
This constant research has made it possible for the Gallerie–Misericordia complex to establish a meaningful relationship with the city of Venice and the community at large, bonds further strengthened by partnerships with the local universities (from work experience programmes to research projects) as well as cultural institutions and foundations, such as the city’s Musei Civici and the Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice.
For more information, please visit the Scuola Vecchia della Misericordia page on this website.