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Financial support needed to restore Great Siege painting at Palace

Wall painting considered to be most historically accurate version of event

Whole Throne Room. Photo: Daniel Cilia

Whole Throne Room. Photo: Daniel Cilia

University students have the opportunity to help conserve an important wall painting in Malta, completed by a Michelangelo apprentice who participated in the painting of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

Created by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio just 10 to 15 years after the Great Siege of 1565, the wall painting cycle at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta is the most detailed and historically accurate visual document of the event itself.

It was partially conserved between 2001 and 2005 by the University of Dresden, leaving one third in need of conservation, so the University of Malta is looking for financial support to complete the work.

The process, using updated conservation methods to stabilise the remaining part of the cycle will see the removal of surface soiling which currently darkens images and improve the legibility of the piece.

The removal of surface soiling which currently darkens images

Aware of the importance of practical experience in high-level professional projects, the Department of Conservation and Built Heritage will be involving University of Malta Masters of Science students in this conservation project within a closely supervised setting.

Truncated panels unrestored. Photo: Daniel CiliaTruncated panels unrestored. Photo: Daniel Cilia

The department, together with Heritage Malta, under the auspices of the Office of the President, are partnering up to commence the project. The conservation is scheduled to begin in October, with a proposed end date of July, 2021. During this period, a group of MSc students will be trained.

The project also includes extensive research and documentation of materials used in the original painting and in subsequent interventions.

The three-year Masters of Science in the Conservation of Decorative Architectural Surfaces is directed by professional wall painting conservators.

A maximum of 10 students are accepted every three years, and they are trained in the most up-to-date theory and practice of science-based wall painting and stone conservation, according to international standards of practice.

The Research, Innovation and Development Trust (RIDT) is meanwhile engaging with various sectors of the local community to raise the necessary funds for this project, which will cost a total of €300,000.

Anyone wanting to support the project can contact the RIDT at [email protected] and 7931 4314.

Details of the Great Siege wall painting cycle by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio. Photos provided by the Faculty for the Built Environment, University of MaltaDetails of the Great Siege wall painting cycle by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio. Photos provided by the Faculty for the Built Environment, University of Malta

Students of the MSc in the Conservation of Decorative Architectural Surfaces at work at Palazzo de la Salle, Valletta.Students of the MSc in the Conservation of Decorative Architectural Surfaces at work at Palazzo de la Salle, Valletta.

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