The Conservation of St. Albert the Great and St. Raymond of Penafort

Two Pendentives by Giuseppe Cali at the Church of our Lady of Porto Salvo, Valletta

St Albert & St Raymond of Penafort
St Albert & St Raymond of Penafort

In ‘Giuseppe Cali’ 1846-1930’ (published by Said International, Valletta, 1991) Emmanuele Fiorentino & Louis A. Grasso write that ‘It goes to show that Cali visualised his creation not simply as paint on a flat surface, but as a true extension of the 3-dimensional reality of their setting in the architectural context.

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31st May 2016 - The Unveiling
31st May 2016 - The Unveiling

The unveiling of the paintings during the celebration of the 200th anniversary commemorating the elevation of the church to the dignity of a minor basilica in 1816.

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St Raymond of Penafort
St Raymond of Penafort

Photo taken after the conservation treatment. Cali’ paints with great detail. He takes the same pain in details on these wall paintings as he does with his canvas paintings. No shortcuts are taken despite the knowledge that these wall paintings will be looked at from far below.

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St Albert & St Raymond of Penafort
St Albert & St Raymond of Penafort

In ‘Giuseppe Cali’ 1846-1930’ (published by Said International, Valletta, 1991) Emmanuele Fiorentino & Louis A. Grasso write that ‘It goes to show that Cali visualised his creation not simply as paint on a flat surface, but as a true extension of the 3-dimensional reality of their setting in the architectural context.

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Inaugurated on Tuesday
31st May 2016

The aim of this conservation project was to stabilise the structure of two from four oil on wall paintings by Giuseppe Cali’ on the pendentives supporting the main dome at the Church dedicated to Our Lady of Porto Salvo, Valletta.

 

Around the year 2000 another local artist was assigned to restore the pendentives. Only two of the pendentives were touched during this time. St Anthony of Florence and St Thomas Aquinas have been extensively overpainted.

 

In 2015, Agatha Grima was called in to take up the scientific conservation of the remaining two pendentives of St. Albert the Great and St. Raymond of Penafort. These two pendentives today reveal the true spirit of Cali’ in all its essence.

 

The painting representing St. Albert the Great showed a higher extent of deterioration mainly in the form of detachments and liftings resulting from events of water infiltration. Apart from extrinsic conservation measures taken to ensure that the church fabric is made safe for the paintings, direct action included documentation, consolidation and adhesion, cleaning, infilling of lacunae, retouching and application of final protective layers.

 

Cali’ painted this work on top of earlier paintings by Pietro Pawl Caruana which represented four evangelists.

Extract from MEANDER - Restoration of Siggiewi Dome

Mariella Pisani Bencini meets Agatha Grima regarding the restoration of the dome paintings by Lazzaro Pisani at Siggiewi Parish Church - Malta

Evolution of Consciousness 

Exhibition opening - 17th September 2014

Evolution of Consciousness - Agatha's second  solo exhibition at The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Republic Street, Valletta was inaugurated by The Honorable Joseph Muscat - Prime Minister of Malta, on Wednesday 17th September 2014 at 7.30p.m.  

 

"The whole of the paintings collection follows the trajectory of my artistic experience. I find myself getting lost in this fantastical world of ART.  And with each work a new vision is born and a new area of consciousness is celebrated.  My greatest pleasure and constant hope is to see others revel in all that my work may offer, the seeking of a new world, one's very own. There is no truth in reality, there is only experience.

Evolution of Consciousness is about that experience."

  

 

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,

to front only the essential facts of life,

and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not,

when I came to die, discover that I had not lived 

                                                                     

                                                            Henry David Thoreau

Agatha's solo exhibtion at the Chamber of Commerce

Memorable Day
Memorable Day

Siggiewi Parish Church Malta

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Memorable Day
Memorable Day

Preparing the painting for the 144 foot journey up to the inner dome

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Memorable Day
Memorable Day

Leaving the site

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Memorable Day
Memorable Day

Siggiewi Parish Church Malta

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A Memorable Day - May 2014

Agatha Grima leading the re-adhesion session of the marouflage painting by Lazzaro Pisani at the Dome of the Siggiewi Parish Church - Malta

2013 - Siggiewi Parish Church, Malta; having detached totally from its stone support, one of the eight dome paintings fell all the way down onto the altar floor.  Throughout the remaining of 2013, preparations were undertaken for the conservation of all eight painted sectors of the dome representing the Beatitudes by Lazzaro Pisani.  The project of the conservation of Pisani’s marouflage paintings commenced in January 2014

 

"Reattaching of the detached painting has been executed on May 1st, 2014 under my instruction and supervision. The detached painting had been prepared and treated at the conservation lab.  The treatment included cleaning the painted surface from dark grime and aged/oxidised varnish, mechanical cleaning of aged glue from the back of the canvas, and consolidation of the paint layer permitting consequent treatment safely. The stone support was cleaned and prepared by multiple dilute applications of a consolidant in solution to ensure a successful adhesion.  Using an acrylic resin emulsion, the reattaching was done systematically and documented.  Numerous factors were considered in the choice of the adhesive used, including its functionality with respect to the nature of the material making up the artifact, the aging properties of the adhesive and its consequent effect on painting, ease of application and its toxicity to the operators. With these factors in consideration, this structural part of the  project has been executed and finalised successfully. This was a truly memorable day!"

Agatha Grima leading the re-adhesion session

Extract from MEANDER. The Awakening.

Mariella Pisani Bencini meets Agatha Grima at the Malta Chamber of Commerce.
Mariella Pisani Bencini meets Agatha Grima.

A four minute feature extracted from MEANDER about The Awakening, the first solo exhibition by Agatha Grima held at the Malta Chamber of Commerce in Valletta.

 

"I must say that the experience was a very positive one in every aspect. The building lends itself beautifully for such events. Being a few meters down from the Grandmaster’s Palace, it is not only central, but permits exposure of one’s works to numerous people from varied walks of life. These include tourists of many nationalities, as well as professionals, both local and foreign, on their day to day business at the Malta Chamber. The bright luminous red paintings of the Fire Series in the centre of the courtyard offered an exquisite spectacle situated, as they were, between the majestic columns. Many people were lured into the building which on one particular day was open for visitors up until nine o’clock in the evening. Furthermore, a number of distinguished guests visited the exhibition including, H.E. The President of Malta Dr. George Abela, H.E. The Ambassador Filipe de la Morena and Prof. Richard England. The Marquis de Piro opened the Exhibition."

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