The room of the Tributes is located at the southern end of the Gallery of the “Ancient Library in the Vatican Museums.” The name “Sala degli Indirizzi” was given to this room during the pontificate of Pio XI (1922-1939), who decided to display the tributes of homage sent to Pope Leo XIII and Saint Pio X by the faithful dioceses throughout the world.
The decoration of the vault, the lunettes and the frieze were all completed by Andrea Giorgini and Filippo Agricola in 1818 during the Pontificate of Pope Pius VII. All the artwork was in very poor condition for a long period of time.
Before the restoration commenced, the painted surfaces exhibited a considerable concentration of debris and scaling of the pigments with eminent loss of colours and cracks on the pictorial surface, especially on the blue background. The surface of the ceiling and lunettes still bears fissures in the wooden material and stucco frames. The lunettes with the prophets display several previous touch-ups done through the centuries.
The restorers Marco Pratelli and Bruno Mattei along with Maestro Maurizio De Luca, Head of the Restoration Labs, and Professor Ulderico Santamaria, Head of the Scientific Laboratory, did several tests to determine which restoration process would be most suitable. After a time of trail, they developed a special process to clean these works given that they have special characteristics – tempera a secco (on the plaster ceiling) as well as on the wood decorations. Their patient application of the scientific method has given wonderful results as you will witness in your visit and as shown in the attached photographs.
They have finished several of the lunettes already as well as various decorative designs in wood. In general the various elements that enter into the work are the following: Vacuum removal of the superficial deposits, re-stabilising the pictorial surface using acrylic resin, cleaning of the painted surfaces, re-stabilising the adhesion between the wall support and the plaster, sealing cracks and crevices, pictorial reintegration by watercolour technique and pigments in powder form.
The lunette of tempera on wood at the end of the hall has been removed and sent to a different restoration department since they were more adapt for this kind of restoration.
The Room of the Tributes was restored thanks to the generosity of Joseph Incaudo of the California Chapter, in loving memory of his wife, Beatrice.