The basic principles for conservation treatment are the following:
One of the main rules at the centre is that treatment (and handling) be kept to a minimum in order to avoid unnecessary stress and risk for the work of art, thus guaranteeing its preservation. According to this rule, exceedingly invasive treatments are always avoided.
The formal, material and structural aspects of the work of art must be respected in every treatment. Any element of the work of art that provides information on its production will be preserved. Prior to the removal of any historical element, a thorough study is carried out to find balanced and appropriate criteria that will regulate the treatment.
Prior to treatment, the causes that have led to the current condition of the artwork must be studied in detail. This helps with the appropriate choice of conservation materials and methods.
The type of retouching technique used in loss compensation depends on whether the piece of work is to be displayed in a museum or is for religious worship. However, it must always be differentiated from the original surrounding paint. At the centre, visible retouching is carried out by differentiation with techniques such as tratteggio (or rigatino) or pointillism. Archaeological retouching minimizes losses on the basis of neutral tones or it keeps the losses visible but toned down.
It should be possible to remove added materials at a later date. Thus, conservators must have detailed information about the exact composition of the materials used as well as how they behave over time.
The materials used in the restoration process must be compatible with the constituent materials of the work of art, and they must be resistant to ageing as far as possible. Any treatment or materials that do not meet the standards that guarantee the longevity of the work of art must be avoided.
Preventive conservation consists of working indirectly on objects through the analysis and control of their environmental conditions to avoid their degradation. Museum objects must be displayed in environments that favour their longevity. To ensure this, information is required about the physical and chemical behaviour of the materials used in the work of art.
Before starting any direct intervention it is essential to gather all the information available: technical, historical and artistic data; reports from previous treatments; and photographic documentation.
During treatment it is equally important to record the different stages, materials and methodologies in condition reports.
Such technical documentation should include data regarding the work of art, its condition prior to treatment, as well as the conservation process carried out. It is equally important to gather results from physicochemical analyses, as well as photographic documentation of the whole process.
The centre promotes teamwork supported by rigorous scientific methodology. For this purpose, conservators, physicists, chemists, historians, photographers and even sometimes biologists and architects work jointly on a daily basis.