The trompe l’oeil dome of the Gozo Cathedral


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The hundreds of people that visit the Gozo Cathedral every day are spellbound and enthralled by the false dome of the Church – Malta’s most spectacular perspective painting. For this reason alone, and many others, this trompe l’œil deserved a more in-depth study.

The book, compiled by Gozo historian Joseph Bezzina, is divided into six parts of which, three, four, and five are an adaptation of the speeches delivered by Joseph Bezzina, Giuseppe Ingaglio, and Pierre Bugeja, on the occasion of the inauguration of the restored dome on 14 December 2019.

Part one presents a Timeline that summarised all that follow. Part two is a biography of Antonino Emanuele, the hitherto largely unknown Sicilian painter of the trompe l’œil dome, followed in Part three by its history from its conception to its restoration and inauguration in 2019. Part four outlines the technicalities of perspective paintings with reference to the dome and contemporary quadraturism in the Maltese archipelago. Part five summarises the process of its handling and restoration; and Part six describes for comparison eight other famous trompe l’œil domes of Europe.

The book is profusely illustrated by over one hundred colour photos by JJP Zammit of Gozo, who chronicled photographically the process of restoration and made his photos shot during the span of a year available for this publication, and Daniel Cilia, who designed the cover and provided other illustrations for this book. This hardback publication is beautifully printed on art paper.

Additional information

Weight 380 g
Dimensions 22 × 15.5 cm
Year of publication
ISBN 9789990957389
Pages 111

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