Paid from the funds of the Ministry of Education and Science as part of the task
"Internationalisation of research conducted by Archaeological Stations of the University of Warsaw"
based on contract No. 54/D353/2021 of November 22, 2021, task No. 14 in the amount of PLN 63,800.

Short description of the project

Research conducted at the convent of Santo Domingo in Lima (Peru) has shown not only a delightful image of decorations made of thousands of ceramic azulejo tiles, but also a history hidden in the representations of several dozen of saints. 

Earthquakes, which often affected the buildings of the monastery and the resulting reconstruction, also affected the ceramic decoration. Some of the representations of saints painted on the tiles were re-mounted on the walls of the main cloister in an improper manner, replacing individual elements of the figures. With conservation patience, we managed to recreate the original arrangement of the tiles. However, the entire historic decoration cannot be disturbed in order to show the story told on the monastery walls again. Therefore, the best solution was to show it virtually. Deciphering the hidden meanings is an interesting adventure in itself. Are we able to understand the sense of these performances nowadays? 

We want to see these saints and show them to others as the people of Lima saw them in the early 17th century. We want to recreate this story for our contemporaries because we expect it to be fascinating.

Let's start with a simple question. Did you know that 400 years ago, from the walls of the main cloister of the monastery in Lima, a saint from distant Poland - Jacek Odrowąż looked at the faithful?

We also present the scientific research that allowed for the identification and description of the technology of the workshops producing azulejos in Seville and Lima during the colonial period. This is because in the convent of Santo Domingo we find 17th-century tiles from both continents. The analysis of the state of preservation of the decorations and the proposed reconstruction of its small fragments made it possible to develop a program of future extensive conservation works. We would also like to present the places where we have performed conservation procedures and laboratory analyses. 

Conservation research is an inseparable element of the conservation and restoration of works of art, but getting to know the work only in its material plane is never enough to conserve it. That is why a conservator of works of art has to follow many paths in parallel.

The presented works were conducted as part of the scientific research of the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in cooperation with the Center for Andean Research of the University of Warsaw.

We hope that the invitation to a journey in virtual reality of the main cloister of the Santo Domingo Monastery will be the beginning of an exciting adventure for everyone interested in the conservation of works of art.

Project goal

When designing a virtual journey in the footsteps of art restorers and archaeologists working in the Santo Domingo Monastery in Lima, as well as recreating and verifying the biographies of almost sixty saints and meritorious for the Church, we focused on goals whose implementation may bring a measurable social impact:

  • Promotion of Polish conservation achievements around the world. The Monastery of Santo Domingo is located in the old town of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The interest of website and VR application visitors in the conservation of works of art as a process of analysis and conscious reading of the message of old works. It is also important in the process of building future generations of art restorers and historians.
  • Showing an alternative method of communing with a work of art, where limited physical availability or niche subject matter are not an obstacle.
  • Demonstrating the value of the workshops of old artists and craftsmen as a source of knowledge about the era and the world.
  • Developing the methodological basis for copying the methods developed by us to other works and fields of art. This will allow similar popularization of the results of work on other objects and works of similar criteria.

Completed tasks and project results

When visiting Santo Domingo online, you have the option of:

  • Taking part in an online virtual walk with numerous interactive elements, which was prepared on the basis of photographic and scientific documentation provided by researchers, and then digitally developed into a VR environment. As part of a walk around the cloister, you can learn about the biographies of saints whose images have been placed on the walls and discover other secrets of the monastery garden cloisters.
  • Discovering the fascinating biographies of saints and other people of merit for the Church depicted on azulejos tiles. These biographies have been recreated as part of the painstaking work of our team and, together with a detailed bibliography, are published in one place in three languages for the first time.
  • Watching multimedia mini-lectures showing interesting aspects of conservation and ways to play azulejos tiles.
  • Getting hands-on information about the Santo Domingo Monastery and its history as well as the present.

All the results of the project's work are available on this website in three languages.

Who is it for?

Our project presents the results of scientific research and conservation works in an innovative way, and from this perspective it can be interesting both for scientists and researchers, as well as for people not professionally related to the presented subject matter. The effects of our work we want to be of particular interest to everyone who wants to learn about:

  • methods and techniques of conservation from the perspective of scientists and monument conservators.
  • the history of the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers) in Lima, and in particular the esteemed figures associated with the order and considered meritorious to the Church, whose images were placed in the cloisters of the monastery's cloister.

We want the fascinating scientific matter to find its recipients also outside the circle of experts in the conservation of works of art and history of art. The activities that have been conducted as part of the research and conservation work have allowed us to collect unusual materials that, when properly displayed, will interest everyone, regardless of the degree of proficiency in the above-mentioned fields of science and art.

Implementing Institutions

The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

University of Warsaw
Andean Research Center


Santo Domingo Monastery Museum in Lima


prof. Jacek Martusewicz Ph.D - project manager
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Research in the area of the monastery

prof. Jacek Martusewicz Ph.D.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Dominika Sieczkowska Ph.D.
University of Warsaw
Andean Research Centre

Sylwia Siemianowska Ph.D.
Polska Akademia Nauk [Polish Academy of Sciences]
The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology

Rafał Nijak, Ph.D.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Anna Kudzia, MA.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Magdalena Skarżyńska, MA.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art


Material development

prof. Jacek Martusewicz, Ph.D.
preparation of the conservation research, photographic documentation
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

prof. Mariusz Ziółkowski, Ph.D.
University of Warsaw
Andean Research Centre

Maciej Sobczyk, Ph.D.
GoPro photo documentation
University of Warsaw
Faculty of Archaeology

f. Marek Miławicki OP
elaboration of the biographies of the saints
The Dominican Historical Institute in Kraków

Jan Krzywdziński, MA
iconographic research
The Doctoral School of the University of Wrocław


Laboratory analyses

Wojciech Bartz, Ph.D.
University of Wrocław
Institute of Geological Sciences

Anna Zatorska, Ph.D.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Kamila Załęska, MA., Eng.
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art

Grzegorz Kaproń, MA.
University of Warsaw
Department of Geology

Sylwia Pawlowicz, MA.
"Laboratorium Konserwacji"


Development of the virtual walk

written and directed by Prof. Jacek Martusewicz, Ph.D.

implementation of the walk - Marcin Majkowski (Dreamplex)

production - Digital Creators Foundation


Website and video development

Digital Creators Foundation

Design and layout

Ewa Krzak

Jacek Młodożeniec

Translations of texts

Spanish - Aleksandra Chołuj, MA.

English - ArcusLink Tłumaczenia Specjalistyczne s.c.