Valletta excursion enriches students’ cultural knowledge
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Valletta excursion enriches students’ cultural knowledge

The students in front of the Auberge de Castille (from left) Owen Bonello, Aidan Bugeja, Shania Buhagiar, Therese Buhagiar, Martina Camilleri Brennan, Kaylee Falzon, Kirsten Farrugia, Luca Magro, Matthew Megrahi, Kieran Schembri, Raisa Scicluna, Joy Thomas Karolyn, Chantelle Vella and Maria Wilson flanked by their teachers: Martin Azzopardi and Joanne Dalli.

The students in front of the Auberge de Castille (from left) Owen Bonello, Aidan Bugeja, Shania Buhagiar, Therese Buhagiar, Martina Camilleri Brennan, Kaylee Falzon, Kirsten Farrugia, Luca Magro, Matthew Megrahi, Kieran Schembri, Raisa Scicluna, Joy Thomas Karolyn, Chantelle Vella and Maria Wilson flanked by their teachers: Martin Azzopardi and Joanne Dalli.

Form 4 students at St Margaret College Senior Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua, recently took part in an excursion to Valletta aimed at enriching their cultural knowledge.

The participants learnt about the symbolic architectural and artistic meanings of the decorations of some of the city’s main buildings and sites, including St John’s Co-Cathedral and its museum, the Grandmaster’s Palace and armoury, the Upper Barakka Gardens, Auberge de Castille, Our Lady of Victory chapel, St Catherine’s church, Palazzo Parisio and the old court building, the Castellania.

They compared the extravagant architectural technique adopted by the Baroque style with the simple architecture of the Mannerist style and with the vividness of the Rococo style. The students compared the work of three famous painters – Mattia Preti, Stefano Erardi and Michelangelo di Merisi (Caravaggio), their use of light, dark and strong colours and typical hand positions of their subjects; they saw the use of the trompe-l’œil technique of art which makes use of realistic imagery to create an optical illusion showing objects and pictures in three dimensions; they learnt that while Baroque architecture used symmetry, symbolising God’s perfection, and elegant decorations, symbolising God’s awesome power, the Rococo style breaks this symmetry, symbolising the living God; and that the 12 columns seen in a Baroque church symbolise the 12 Apostles; they learnt the meaning of the Latin initials D.O.M. on marble tombstones, meaning Deo Optimo et Maximo (God the Best and the Highest);

Among the many paintings that they viewed was Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John the Baptist, the largest painting in the world by this famous artist and the only one he signed.

The excursion was organised by teachers Martin Azzopardi and Joanne Dalli.

The authors are students at St Margaret College Senior Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua.

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