Cathedral Museum (Valletta)
In various rooms annexed to the oratory, there are priceless collections of art and relics collected, the result of donations from the Knights of Malta.
Among the collections, one concerns vestments and religious attires intended for special ceremonies. Garments made of silk and satin, studded with rich embroidery, often embellished with gold and silver inserts. The colors of each series of garments are carefully selected according to the liturgical calendar.
Another notable collection is made up of 29 enormous Flemish tapestries produced by the Judocus de Vos of Brussels. Some allegories depicted trace subjects and themes conceived by Pietro Paolo Rubens. Gift of the Aragonese community to the grand master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful elevated to office in the period 1697 - 1701, they depict scenes from the life of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles and the Grand Master.
The collection of hand-painted and illuminated gold books divided into ten named books is interesting Graduals, with reference to the chants accompanying the rites of Communion, seven and two books o Antiphonaries from the XNUMXth century donated by the grand masters Philippe de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle and Antoine de Paule respectively.
One of the most valuable pieces is the case of the most important relic of the Knights: the mummified hand of the patron saint of the Order John the Baptist. Commissioned by the great master Gregorio Carafa, it bears the coat of arms of the family family it belongs to. Made of bronze with silver ornaments, the work of Ciro Ferri, famous goldsmith sculptor influenced by the Baroque style of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the reliquary inlaid with gold with precious stones was confiscated, the relic secured by the last grand master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim before leaving Malta following the Napoleonic invasion.
Stripped of all the works of gold and liturgical silverware during the French occupation of 1798 - 1800, however, some high prelates managed to recover part of the confiscated treasures, among them the set of fifteen silver statues made by the artist Antonio Arrighi , exponent of the Roman Baroque, between 1741 and 1743. Thanks to the mediation of the bishop Gaetano Labini and the Chapter of the Cathedral against the payment of a large sum in money, these works were recovered to be kept in the cathedral of San Paolo di Medina. (Source Wikipedia)
Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero
Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero, Web
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