The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Din l-Art Helwa continues in effort to restore the Mattia Preti paintings at Sarria Church

Thursday, 12 July 2018, 16:04 Last update: about 9 months ago

The last two of the seven Mattia Preti paintings at Sarria Church in Floriana are about to be restored to their original splendour by Giuseppe Mantella Restauri, in line with Din l-Art Helwa's aim to get this great task completed within 2018, year of Valletta's European Capital of Culture.

The two paintings are lunettes consisting of 'An Apotheosis of the Order' and 'St. Michael the Archangel who overcomes Evil'.

While the first lunette has an anonymous sponsor, the work on the badly damaged St Michael the Archangel is being generously supported by Sparkasse Bank Malta plc.  Sparkasse Bank Malta Managing Director Paul Mifsud commented, "This is the second time we offer our support for the restoration of Mattia Preti's works at Sarria.  In fact last year we offered the funds for the repair and restoration of the St Nicholas painting.  This effort is part of our policy to support Maltese heritage and culture."


Sarria church dates back to the beginning of the Knights of St John's presence in Malta. During 1585 a knight from Navarra, Martino de Sarria, built a small chapel which became known as Cappella Sarria. In 1680 the Order of St John rebuilt the chapel in appreciation for the end of the pestilence of 1675-76 that killed about 8000 Maltese citizens. A new and bigger church was built by the architect Lorenzo Gafà on the designs of Mattia Preti.  Besides, Grand Master Nicolas Cottoner entrusted Mattia Preti to provide the seven paintings that decorate the church. As a result, this church is a treasure chest designed and decorated by Preti, il Cavaliere Calabrese, himself.

Sarria Church is currently under the care of the Jesuit community in Malta, with Fr Lino Spiteri SJ being the curator. While Din l Art Helwa are completing the restoration of the paintings, Fr Spiteri has supervised works for repainting of the interior of the church. 

Financial help is needed for giving this treasure of the Maltese heritage the necessary state of the art lighting.  Donors are welcome and would benefit of tax rebates, please contact Din l-Art Helwa. 


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