CHURCHES AND CHAPELS OF MALTA AND GOZO
Our Churches and Chapels in art
In this chapter it is not my intent to extol the numerous pieces of art that exist in the churches and chapels of the Maltese islands. Granted that books have been written and whole web sites created about Paintings, Titulars, Statues and Sculptures that these Christian temples can boast about, but this is beyond my scope.
The idea here is to examine different aspects of how other people look at these temples from the outside as Holy buildings, that is how individuals Paint their images, make models of them and how they are presented to us through philately.
There are different media artists and hobbyists use among which are: water colour, oils, acrylic, wood, cardboard, foam and even matchsticks just to mention a few. Most of the representations are really artistic, some may be whimsical and some the fruit of a lot of patience on the part of hobbyists. I am sure there are more than what I will present here, but I hope this will be a good cross section.
ALL IMAGES BELOW ARE COPYRIGHT OF THE ARTISTS AND OWNERS.
A special calendar of Malta was being sold a few decades ago. It was not made up of general views but of water colour paintings of wayside chapels done by JOSEPH CASSAR of Hamrun who happened to be a leading photographer too with a good eye for art. Here is the set:
Sometimes it is the rustic appearance of a Chapel that attracts painters. Here are three different paintings of the same chapel at Birmiftuh.
It's the historic significance that comes out in a painting sometimes. This titular painting at the 'Ta' Hamet' church in Gozo shows the church itself at the time the painting was done. The church was still minus its belfries in the painting. Pictures Below
Again, this Painting of the Luqa Parish Church shows how it stood at the turn of the century. Picture above
On to more recent times, a Maltese ex-patriate EDWARD ABELA who lives in Markham Ontario, produces fine paintings depicting different subjects. If one visits his web site: http://www.edwardabela.com/ one can see that he has not forgotten his native land. Below is a set of his works showing different churches and chapels around the Maltese Islands.
Among the paintings of the young artist CEDRIC GALEA PIROTTA who lives in Malta and who uses mainly oils and acrilic as media, are some which depict Maltese and Gozitan churches and chapels. With his permission I am presenting the selection below. As can be seen from these examples, he brings out weathered Malta limestone beautifully. His website can be found at: http://www.cgp71.com/
JACQUELINE AGIUS is an online friend of mine part of the group Friends of Maltese Chapels, an offshoot of the website Kappelli Maltin. Her work is in watercolors and brings to life the beauty of our rural Chapels. Here is a selection of her work. Her website can be found at: Jacqueline Agius
Among recent friends and artists made through Facebook groups is Maris Zammit who among other watercolour works, has pictures of Maltese Churches and Wayside Chapels. Here is a selection of these and a link to her own website: Maris Zammit
Guzeppi Theuma is also an artist friend of mine who I first met on Facebook. He makes exquisite drawings of Maltese Chapels. Here is a selection:
In my retirement I'm doing some painting in acrylics and my usual subjects reflect my yearning for my country of birth, Malta. Some are the depiction of churches and wayside chapels:
This is a painting of my hometown of Hamrun with the parish church of St Cajetan towering on the rest of the buildings.
The small church of Porto Salvo also in Hamrun, where I was an altar server in my youth and where I also got married.
At Wied-il-ghajn, a small coastal village, there is a rural chapel of St Cajetan, of course my favourite Saint.
One can expound most of the history of the Maltese islands through their Postage Stamps. Here is a selection of some that depict Churches and Chapels. Here too, we can follow Historical facts.
Artists and hobbyists have from time to time made three dimensional models of Maltese churches. The scope, finish, and media used varies. A special hobby group with a specific subject of Churches, statues and church paraphernalia conducts its own shows and activities. Members even produce models of churches made out of cardboard or matchsticks. Other individuals are more specific in style and media using plaster of paris, wood or local limestone for their models. Below is a variety of models from different sources with details about artist and media used where available. Again I will not specify which particular building is shown ( they happen to be mostly Parish Churches), that I will leave to you to guess.
These three were made out of matchsticks, three are by members of the Hobby club. One is by Joseph Farrugia while another is by Paul Piscopo.
The one on the Left is in Gozo.
The one on the right was made around 60 years ago by a member of the Hobby club out of cardboard and plastic foam among other media.
This one on the Right is very rustic and is a permanent fixture in the backyard of a village whose Parish Church it depicts. It seems the artist has used local stone pieces held together by cement.
Another simpler one over a farmhouse doorway is in the form of a niche complete with the statue of a Saint, probably St.Joseph. Picture on the Right.
Left. Unknown media. Artist George Pellegrini Petit
Below: Four tiny pieces by Anton Said probably made out of Plaster.
Below: Models of the Mosta church and the church of the Ursuline sisters of Gwardamangia. Both are made out of the original limestone used in Maltese buildings.
Left: Bas-relief carved out of wood and then painted over. The church is at the harbour waterfront and dedicated to the 'Flight to Egypt'. Artist Jenny Cook.
Right: Another wooden bas-relief, this time of the facade of the church of St.Paul's in Valletta.
Left: Set of wooden models of chapels in an exhibition in 2012.
Right: Another exhibition early 2014.
Two models of Our Lady of Grace Parish Church of Zabbar.
Left: Done in Plastics.
Right: Done in Matchsticks.
The facade of the St Cajetan Parish Church of Hamrun made in chocolate for the occasion of the Chocolate festival held in Hamrun in 2010.
Architectural Drawings by Arthur Britch
I met Arthur online through his website Malta Churches and Chapels He is an Architect in the UK and has approached Maltese Churches and Chapels from the view of appreciation of architecture especially Baroque. He was so kind as to send me High Resolution scans of his work and let me use them as I wished.