Mattia Preti: The Triumphant Manner Edited By Keith Sciberras

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Born in Taverna, Calabria, in 1613, Mattia Preti emerged as a leading exponent of the forceful Baroque of mid-17th century Italy, working in a tradition which brilliantly captured the characteristics of monumental dynamism and theatrical appeal. An extraordinary draughtsman and painterly virtuoso, he was quick with his brush and produced hundreds of pictures which spanned a career of some seventy years

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His life-story can be easily and neatly divided in an early training and first maturity in Rome, his mid-years in Naples, and the nearly four decades that he spent on Malta between 1661 and his death in 1699. An artist-knight, his life was also conditioned by his membership in the chivalric Order of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta. Preti’s works for St John’s Conventual Church inspired a major transformation within the church. The Baroque re-decoration programme which Preti was to direct transformed the interior of the Conventual Church into one of the most important nodes of Baroque art South of Rome. Preti was to assume responsibility of painting the entire ceiling and many altar paintings and lunettes. Moreover, he produced designs for the carved decoration that spread throughout the church walls, the inlaid marble slabs for the flooring and ephemera. Preti’s residency on the island did not go unnoticed and his circle of admirers grew beyond the circle of the Knights of Malta. The church and private patrons were attracted to his work. Owning a painting by the artist grew to become a desideratum. The artist’s technique and method of painting was fast and he could rapidly execute large scale works. His inventive genius kept up with the pace of his technique and the artist thus produced a large corpus of paintings. Hardcover. Published by Midsea Books Ltd 2012