The Mat­tia Preti – Self Im­age ex­hi­bi­tion

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Mat­tia Preti – Self Im­age is the sec­ond ex­hi­bi­tion of its kind or­gan­ised by Her­itage Malta. It pre­sents a paint­ing of the renowned South­ern Ital­ian artist ac­quired by the na­tional agency. This paint­ing is part of a larger work which was split into three in re­cent times.

This ex­hi­bi­tion was inau­gu­rated by the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Cul­ture and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Owen Bon­nici, in the pres­ence of Chair­man of Her­itage Malta Joseph M. But­tigieg, CEO of Her­itage Malta Ken­neth Gam­bin, and Alexan­der De­bono, Se­nior Cu­ra­tor Arts & Palaces.

In May 2016 Her­itage Malta ac­quired a paint­ing by Mat­tia Preti rep­re­sent­ing Apelles. This paint­ing was bought through sale by auc­tion at Artcu­rial Auc­tion House (Paris). It was sub­se­quently brought to Malta, stud­ied, re­searched, con­served and re­stored be­fore pre­sent­ing it in this ex­hi­bi­tion. This re­search project has led to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the paint­ing and its re­la­tion­ship to the other two sur­viv­ing frag­ments which once formed part of one can­vas.

The paint­ing de­picts Apelles, the fa­mous Greek pain­ter from Clas­si­cal An­tiq­uity, paint­ing Cam­paspe, Alexan­der the Great’s lover. It is also a self por­trait, given that Apelles has Preti’s fa­cial fea­tures. This de­tail was noted by Preti’s bi­og­ra­pher, Bernardo de Do­minici, who makes direct ref­er­ence to the paint­ing by the artist.

Min­is­ter Dr Owen Bon­nici said the ac­qui­si­tion of this paint­ing is in line with the Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy to en­hance the Na­tional Col­lec­tion. He also said that last year Her­itage Malta spent al­most €300,000 in ac­qui­si­tion of arte­facts and paint­ings to en­hance the Na­tional Col­lec­tion. Dr Bon­nici em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of such re­search projects, since they give fur­ther value to the col­lec­tions.

The big­gest cor­pus of works by Mat­tia Preti on dis­play in any pub­lic mu­seum were housed at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Fine Arts which closed its doors at the Ad­mi­ralty House last week­end af­ter 42 years. This paint­ing of Mat­tia Preti will form part of the Ital­ian arts col­lec­tion on dis­play at MUZA, the new na­tional com­mu­nity art mu­seum at the Au­berge d’Italie and flag­ship project for Val­letta 2018 Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture.

The paint­ing is on ex­hibit at the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ar­chae­ol­ogy in Val­letta un­til 30 Novem­ber. This ex­hi­bi­tion forms part of the Es­presso Ex­hi­bi­tion Se­ries. This ti­tle is in­spired by the ex­tremely pop­u­lar, highly con­cen­trated and strongly flavoured cof­fee shot. Like es­presso, th­ese ex­hi­bi­tions are ap­pre­cia­bly diminu­tive but in­tense, and cast the spot­light on in­trigu­ing arte­facts from the Na­tional Col­lec­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Her­itage Malta and its events one can visit the web­site, www.her­itage­malta.org, or fol­low the face­book pages.

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