Venice in Peril


Misericordia Scientific Laboratory of the Gallerie dell’Accademia

Historic Paint Samples Archive Research - Early-Career Scientist

Dr Rosa Costantini at the Misericordia Scientific Laboratory


Scientific analysis of materials and pigments inform the work of art conservators, to ensure that the most appropriate techniques and agents are employed during their interventions. Wherever possible, non-invasive analysis techniques are used. However, sometimes microinvasive samples are vital to understanding the composition of historic materials, such the pigments used in paint.

Venice’s painting samples archive was created mainly in the 1970s and 80s by scientist Prof. Lorenzo Lazzarini and it is one of the most important anywhere, a precious resource comprising over 5000 samples, which can be used to inform current interventions, greatly reducing the number of microinvasive samples which would need to be taken today.

Painting Sample slide from the Laboratory

The current project comprises reanalysing with modern techniques and digital cataloguing of this archive of microscopic samples. Modern microscopy and other analytical techniques allow much more to be learned from the samples today, than was originally the case. Also, many samples can now be analysed which were originally considered unsuitable specimens.

Early-career art conservation scientist Dr Rosa Costantini joins the small team at the Misericordia Scientific Laboratory to conduct the project. Prof Lazzarini is generously giving his time to support and inform Dr Costantini’s work, and the project is supervised by laboratory lead, Dr Stefano Volpin.

Dr Costantini working in the lab


For more information about the Misericordia Scientific Laboratory visit the Gallerie dell'Accademia website. Click to Learn More


Venice in Peril has supported the Accademia’s science and conservation laboratories since their inception following the disastrous floods of 1966.

Venice in Peril has committed to raising €12,600 to fund the first year of this project.