Dear Members and Friends of Din l-Art Ħelwa,
We write to wish you a happy Pascal weekend and hope that bringing you beautiful images of Din l-Art Ħelwa’s recent restorations would brighten up the gloomy weather. DLĦ fights to save the beautfy of our landscape and traditional buildings, but we also put our elbows to work to physically save what we can. Renaissance of beauty and saving heritage is always so edifying and of course, we could not carry out this part of our mission, without your support. We hope you enjoy seeing these.
RESTORATION OF THE 16 C PANEL PAINTING – NATIVITY OF THE VIRGIN, Our Lady of Victory Church, Valletta
Believed to be the original titular painting of the first Church of Our Lady of Victory in Valletta, this beautiful 16c mannerist painting, painted on wood, is now restored. An endowment to the church dedicated to the Nativity from the Order of St John soon after it was built, the image of the birth of the Virgin is not one we often see. We believe it may be the only one in Malta. The panel was showing signs of stress, paint losses and its marvellous colours were hidden under years of accumulated grime.
After meticulous conservation and restoration, many intricate details are revealed. The panel portrays the image of Mary, having just given birth to Jesus. Her parents, St Anne and St Joachim are by her side. She is being offered dried fruit on a platter, while a maidservant holds a bright white towel to the fire to warm the infant. Note the midwife with her tie clips, the woven sandels, hairstyles, and water jug, while black and white cygnets nestle in the left bottom corner, perhaps symbols of Mary’s marked destiny. We are pleased we were able to complete this important project to mark our twenty years of work for the church. Carried out by Conservator and Restorer, Amy Sciberras, this fine project was made possible by PwC Malta, whose generosity has helped DLĦ save many of the church treasures. Do come and visit. The church is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and is extremely popular for wedding ceremonies at the weekend. Do read on for our Wednesday presentations below.
IMAGE OF THE PANEL PAINTING – THE NATIVITY – CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF VICTORY, VALLETTA, AFTER RESTORATION
IMAGE OF THE PAINTING BEFORE RESTORATION
(Photos by courtesy of Amy Sciberras Conservators – Fine Arts Restoration)
WEDNESDAYS 11 A.M. – PRESENTATIONS AT OUR LADY OF VICTORY CHURCH
Long standing volunteer of DLĦ, and former Secretary General, Ian Camilleri, is hosting visitors to a 45 minute presentation of the church every Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. Ian will introduce visitors to the history of the church and its treasures, amongst which, perhaps its most important treasure, the monumental baroque ceiling paintings of the life of the Virgin by the Maltese artist Alessio Erardi, restored over twenty years by the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Ian will also speak of Din l-Art Ħelwa’s work to save the church. Donation to participate is 5 euros per adult dedicated entirely to the upkeep of the church. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or just present yourself to Ian at the church. Do spread the word.
RESTORATION OF TWO TOWERS IS COMPLETE
The restoration of the Ghallis Tower, one of the 13 Coastal Watch Towers built by Grand Master Martin De Redin in 1658 is now complete. DLĦ worked hard to win a grant for this project from the Majjistral Action Group Foundation. Together with its restoration we have produced a set of educational tools including a very colourful E Book, available to download through the link below, and also a set of Activity Sheets aimed at children. We are very grateful to Dr Stephen C. Spiteri, the well-known military historian and author, who has enriched the visuals with his images of cut through sections of the tower enabling those standing outside to know what lies within. A QR symbol leading to an App to these assets will also be available.
The Project for the Restoration of the Ghallis Watch Tower was made possible by the Majjistral Action Group Foundation for development in rural areas in the northern region of Malta under Measure 1: Restoration of Assets of Artistic and Cultural Value and by the Co-Funding Fund for NGOs of the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.
TORRI MAMO NOW READY FOR EVENTS (on the road to Marsascala)
As we recently announced, the restoration of Torri Mamo with its unusual 16 façades in the shape of a St Andrew’s cross, has also now been completed by DLH. This historic fortified family home dating back to 1657, with its circular domed hall, is an ideal setting for small events, family reunions and camping in its historic moat. Bookings are readily being accepted. Do write in to admin@dinlartĦelwa.org
The restoration of Torri Mamo was also made possible by a LEADER programme grant for restoration of cultural assets in rural areas, this time through the Xlokk Local Action Group Foundation and the Co-Financing Fund for NGOs of the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. The Funding teams in these foundations are really helpful and we are grateful to them for guiding us through these applications.
DO REMEMBER TO RENEW OR UPGRADE YOUR MEMBERSHIP, ENCOURAGE NEW MEMBERS TO JOIN US AND TO DONATE. FUND ARE ALWAYS NEEDED.
WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS AT ALL OUR SITES. Write in to email@example.com
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND.
Simone Mizzi for DIN L-ART ĦELWA