An intriguing report out of England: The Vatican has hired Lynton Lasers, a tattoo removal company in Cheshire, to remove dirt from its priceless statues and paintings.
The company’s infrared laser beams use a gentle heat to remove pollution and dirt from statues, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. Andy Charlton, the company’s chairman, said that the lasers can also be used on frescoes and artwork–but that it’s a sensitive process. “With artwork or frescoes,” Charlton explained to the Manchester Evening News,
“…it can be done but it’s more difficult when you’re dealing with pigment. The light heats up the dirt and blasts it off, but you want it to be self-limiting, so it doesn’t also heat up the paint underneath.
It’s similar with a tattoo, apart from the ink is in the skin–you want to blast that away without damaging the skin.”
Lynton Lasers has also donated one of their machines to the Vatican, so that they’ll be able to keep the artwork clean. Read more about it here.