History and Vision

The Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs) at The Cyprus Institute (CyI) pursue key inquiries, research problems and innovative approaches in art history, archaeology and cultural heritage, through the application of advanced science and technology.

Established with the generous support of Dr. Andreas Pittas and commencing its full operational capacity in 2019, APAC Labs consolidated knowledge, expertise and instrumentation acquired under EU funded project STARLAB towards Art Characterization research. Furthermore, the establishment of APAC Labs builds on the collaboration of the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center’s (STARC) with the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF). Integrating expertise in art history, digital heritage and visualization, and physico-chemical analyses, the development of an interdisciplinary research pipeline, based on portable and bench instrumentation, aims at the digital, imaging and analytical investigation of works of art, artefacts, monuments and sites. Moving beyond the confines of a state-of-the-art lab, APAC Labs embrace a holistic approach to art characterization possible through cross-disciplinary scientific exchange that is driven by broad inquiries in art history and the humanities. The laboratories’ research is part of key Euro-pean initiatives on Cultural Heritage and Heritage Science, such as ERIHS and IPERION-HS.


Operating within the broader scope of the STARC’s research facilities, APAC Labs provide a broad approach to art characterization, pursuing:

• Research, to advance the effective use of heritage science and technology in the characterization of works of art, monuments and archaeological material.

• Innovation, to develop task-specific service protocols related to material characterization, provenance, state of preservation and identification of works of art and heritage artefacts.

• Training and Education, through workshops and seminars of experts in art history, archaeology and the humanities, for practitioners, students and citizens at large.

Few words from the donor

Revealing the secrets and the hidden stories of works of art through the use of science and technology is an exciting journey of discovery and as such it is the core focus of our Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs). From a young age I was mesmerized by the artistic legacy of the Byzantine and Medieval periods in our island of Cyprus. Further on, I was fascinated to discover the ways Early Renaissance artists in Italy responded to the achievements of Byzantine art while opening new venues of artistic expression.

Style,  technique  and  the  materiality  of  paintings  mirror  the  talent  of  their  makers  but also  contain  the  cultural  sensibility  of  their  patrons  and  the  taste  of  their  audience. Advances  in  the  use  of  advanced  scientific and technological methods have truly revolutionized the ways we preserve but also study art and material culture. We now have at our disposal unthinkable tools and opportunities to unlock new facts and secrets about the work of artists in the past. Hidden paintings, signatures, preparatory sketches, retouching and interventions, materiality and technique details, digital representations and visualization are only some of the exciting venues explored thus far.

Furthermore, scientific and technological innovation enrich our knowledge, our appreciation and our ability to protect our cultural heritage for future generations. Of course, at the heart of these efforts, we must carefully retain our humanistic focus and interest. After all, works of art are reflections of society and its cultural life. I am very proud of the work and achievements of APAC Labs at the Cyprus Institute and I am grateful to all involved for their efforts. I look forward to the next steps of our exciting journey.

Dr. Andreas Pittas