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In The Late Medieval Art and Architecture of the Maltese Islands, the author presents us with ‘a comprehensive point of departure for the study of artistic developments in the Late Middle Ages, from the Norman Conquest at the turn of the twelfth century to the coming of the Knights in 1530’. This book shows us that Late Medieval Malta was not an artistic desert, that patronage in Mdina was surprisingly well-informed, and that the Renaissance reached Malta before the coming of the Knights. Architecture, however, lagged behind, and the stylistic and technical innovations ‘reflected the conservatism of an insular society’.
Through the art and architecture of that period, Professor Buhagiar outlines the ‘Christianization and Latinization process that moved the islands away from a Muslim and North African bias, to a South European sphere of influence’. The author’s many years of meticulous research and academic activity have resulted in an excellently presented book that can be enjoyed by both the academic and the general reader.
Mario Buhagiar is Professor of History of Art and Head of the History of Art Programme at the University of Malta, which he was responsible for establishing in 1988. The author is also responsible for the Late Roman and Byzantine Catacombs and Related Burial Places in the Maltese Islands, and The Iconography of the Maltese Islands 1400-1900: Painting, as well as numerous articles in various journals, both local and foreign.