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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Museum of FIne Arts

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The Museum of Fine Arts

National Museum of Fine Arts, South Street,Valletta VLT 1101 Tel: +356 21225769, http://www.heritagemalta.org

Monday to Sunday: 9.00-17.00 (Last admission: 16.30); closed: 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January, Good Friday

Regular ticket (18 - 59 years): €5; subsidised ticket: 12-17 years, Senior Citizens (60+), Students: €3.50; children (6 -11 years): €2.50

Visit all the Valletta museums in one day and save on the admission fee - Valletta Multi Site Ticket (The National Museum of Fine Arts, The National Archaeology Museum, The Palace Armoury and Palace State Rooms):  Adults (18 - 59 years) €20.00 or €30.00 with audio guides; students (12 - 17 years), Senior Citizens (60 years and over), ISIC Card Holders, EURO<26 Card Holders, ISE Card Holders, ICOM Card Holders €15.00 or €24.00 with audio guides; children (6 -11 years): €10.00 or €19.00 with audio guides; infants (1 -5 years): Free

 

 

A Historical Note

In 1974, the Museum of Fine Arts was transferred from the Auberge de Provançe in Republic Street to its current location on South Street. This palace was one of the first to be built in Valletta and underwent major renovations in the 18th century. Under British rule, it came to be known as Admiralty House, and served as a premises for the office of Commander-in Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet. Notable personalities who resided in this building include Winston Churchill, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II.

The Museum was founded in 1923 by Vincenzo Bonello. 

 

The Exhibits

Two prominent marble plaques at the top of the staircase list in chronological order officers that until 1957 served as Commanders-in-Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet. A small yet interesting exhibition on the landing comprises a collection of gold and silver chalices, monstrances and other liturgical paraphernalia bequeathed by Magistrate Edgar Parnis. Not to be overlooked are the Valencian Sword and Dagger, donated to Heritage Malta in 2006 by the Spanish Association of Friends of Malta. Worked in gold and silver with crystal blades, these artefacts were modelled after originals donated to Grand Master La Vallette by King Felipe II of Spain in 1566.

The Museum houses works of art from the 15th until the 20th Century. Notable paintings in the collection include Death of Dragut, by Maltese painter Giuseppe Cali; The Martyrdom of St. Agatha, by Giovanni Baglione; and Judith and Holofernes by Valentin de Boulogne (le Valentin). The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria by Filippo Paladini was donated by Giovanni Bonello and his sister Anna Xuereb – whose father was none other than Vincenzo Bonello himself.

Also worthy of note is a collection of paintings by the prolific Mattia Preti, including precursors of works in the vault of St. John's co-Cathedral; and a ground floor collection of portraits by Antoine de Favray (1706-1798), including a self-portrait and portraits of Grand Masters De Rohan and Pinto. There is also a terracotta model of St. Thomas of Villanova by Melchiorre Gafa', which served as the basis of a marble statue in the church of St. Agostino in Rome. Another noteworthy painting is a representation of the Grand Harbour by Joseph Mallard William Turner.

Do not overlook the collection of Maltese furniture from the 17th and 18th Century on the first floor which includes such interesting exhibits as a Maltese prie dieu – a piece of furniture specifically intended for prayer.