‘Few other personages of the past can rival the claim of Mattia Preti, known in his own days as il Cavalier Calabrese, as one of the leading figures who fashioned Maltese culture … Mattia Preti was indeed one of the most respected artists of his time … His artistic iter is exceptionally intricate, complicated by his own fabulous virtuosity that enabled Preti to vary his style with bewildering facility.’ – Dominic Cutajar 1995
324 years after his demise, Mattia Preti is still a force to be reckoned with. He etched his name in art history as a superb exponent of Baroque and proved to be one of the most productive painters of the 17th century. Before moving for good to Malta 1661 at the mature age of 48, Preti was already enjoying great esteem in Roman and Neapolitan circles, arguably the leading hubs of Italian Baroque.
Malta, nonetheless, offered unprecedented opportunities to Mattia Preti. The Conventual Church of St John, the principal church of the Chivalric Brethen epitomising Catholic Europe, was patiently awaiting the artistic genius that would transform its interior into a world-class Baroque splendour. Preti undertook the mammoth project of morphing its huge and bare vault into an extravaganza of dynamic compositions, vibrant colours, and dramatic light in five odd years.
Mattia Preti: Discovering the Baroque Secrets of Malta provides an appreciation of the Calabrian artist and knight who left an indelible mark on Maltese art.