Giuseppe Calì

By funding the restoration of nine of iconic artist Giuseppe Calì’s works, Bank of Valletta has once again demonstrated their commitment to the preservation of important Maltese artistic and cultural works.

Giuseppe Calì

“The rich heritage of our country is a value that we must preserve and exhibit for the upcoming generations,” stated Charles Azzopardi, Executive PR & Marketing at Bank of Valletta. “Over the years, the Bank has had its name associated with several prestigious projects, such as the Ta’ Ġieżu Crucifix and the 18th Century titular painting depicting The Sacred Family upon its return from Egypt, found at the chapel in Comino.”

Giuseppe Calì

The works restored are held in the old parish church in the heart of Għajnsielem, work was commissioned by Archpriest Rev Canon Frankie Bajada.

The restoration was led by Fr Charles Vella, who explained that the process required infilling and reintegration to recover the painting’s original aesthetic conditions. The paintings had been damaged by tears and fungus infestations. Fr Vella also explained that preventative measures were also undertaken to minimise possible future disintegration in the art.

Giuseppe Calì

Restoration works began about three years ago, but as COVID began to take hold, there were (fortunately unrealised) concerns that restoration work would suffer, as the outbreak changed economic priorities.

Giuseppe Cali is considered a “pride”, and almost every church in Malta boasts a work of his. He was nicknamed “the devil with the brush” and lived from 1846-1930. Research conducted before the project revealed that he used handmade colours for his work, consisting of natural minerals and that he was an anglophobe, inscribing the word “Inglesi” on the snake of the Immaculate Conception painting.

The paintings restored are those of the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, the Assumption, St Andrea, St Anthony, St Paul, The Nativity, Our Lady of the Rosary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These works are displayed inside the Għajnsielem Church, where visitors can admire these artistic gems.

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