Willie Apap (1918-1970) divided his artistic career between his native Malta and Rome where he spent the major part of his life. Since his youth he showed a precocious talent in painting that was to be more fully developed when in 1937 he proceeded to the italian capital to study under Carlo Siviero. His interests embraced a variety of genres, though he is perhaps best known for his numerous portraits and for some of the most profoundly-felt examples of sacred art ever produced by a Maltese artist.
The book evaluates the major landmarks of Willie Apap’s output, following it through its various phases, including the Malta School of Art period, the influence imbibed at the Regia Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, right up to the striped technique which he first used in a London townscape. Apart from his portraits – including highly prestigious ones like those of H.R.H. Princess Anne, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, and the S.M.O.M. Grand Master Fra Angelo de Mojana – it unfolds a rare mixture for sensuous delight in his mastery of the human form and for his spiritually dissective imagery that has few equals among his generation. It also offers insights into some of the crucial event in the artist’s life such as his involvement in the famous Conspiracy Trials of 1947.
Profusely illustrated throughout with the bulk of Apap’s work, the book presents a picture of an artist whose acclaim as ‘il poeta del colore’ must be one of the reasons for placing him firmly among the front rank of artists who have emerged from Malta in the 20th century.