Mattia Preti’s St. Nicholas of Bari, another masterpiece returned to its previous glory

Giuseppe Mantella Restauri have completed their painstaking work on this painting which is the fourth that they have restored at the historic Sarria Church. This place of worship was commissioned by Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner to Mattia Preti, il Cavalier calabrese in 1676. Although Preti was not an architect, he designed the perfect plan for this little architectural jewel, the only building known to have been designed by him.

The Grandmaster wished the church to be dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, in thanksgiving for the relief from the plague also commissioning paintings dedicated to saints who were known to intercede for the deliverance from this feared pestilence. So far, the grand altar piece, Immacolata, the St Sebastian and St Rosalia have been completed with the generous support of patrons.

The cost for restoring the St. Nicholas, patron saint of the Grandmaster himself, is being carried by Mr. Paul Mifsud, Managing Director Sparkasse Bank Malta plc to whom Din l-Art Helwa and the Jesuits in Malta are most grateful.

Still awaiting sponsors are two lunettes in dire need of repair. One represents the Order genuflecting before its patron saint, St. John, while the other, an allegory of good victorious over evil, depicts the Archangel Michael overpowering Satan.

While the walls of the historic Sarria Church are being redecorated, Din l-Art Helwa launches an appeal for generous sponsors to come forward and donate for the restoration of these two precious Preti canvasses, in an effort to have all the church returned to its pristine splendour, in time for Valletta 2018. Kindly contact: or visit our website