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Title: Suor Maria de Dominici : the first Maltese female artist and her presence in late Baroque Malta and Rome
Authors: Xuereb, Nadette
Keywords: Painting, Baroque -- Malta -- 17th century
Dominici, Maria de, 1645-1703 -- Criticism and interpretation
Women painters -- Malta -- 17th century
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This dissertation will analyze Suor Maria de Dominici as an artist and a member within a religious order, and will evaluate her life and works in Malta and in Rome. Her significance, both as an artist within Preti’s bottega and independently, will be analysed, together with her fortuna critica and literature written about her. The methods of research carried out in this dissertation included a formal and technical analysis of the works of art attributed to the artist in Malta, which included viewing and studying the paintings physically. Historical analysis, including tracing patronage patterns and studying iconography of the image within its context, was also carried out. Of significant importance was also the research carried out in various archives in Malta and also in Rome, as, although unfortunately not much is documented or still exists, it helped to differentiate between what is factual and what is traditional. This was also done through the evaluation of stories generated about the artist, both that which has been published over the years as well as oral tradition, which exists even today in small Maltese towns, especially in churches. This was of essential importance for the scrutinization of the biography of Maria de Dominici and the works of art attributed to her. I also met with various people who are knowledgeable about the subject, such as Joe Borg and Mgr. John Azzopardi in Malta, and Dr Sergio Guarino in Rome. Chapter 1 will examine the biography of Suor Maria de Dominici, focusing on her family, her artistic training and fortuna critica. De Dominici’s significance as a tertiary within a religious order while working as an artist, as well as the concept of being a female artist within a man-centred world, will also be discussed. Chapter 2 will examine Maria’s presence and artistic oeuvre within the workshop of Mattia Preti, and her independent works in painting and sculpture, as well as past attributions and lost works. Chapter 3 will analyse the artist’s departure to Rome in 1682 when she was 37 years old, where she lived and worked as an artist until her death in 1703. Chapter 4 presents a catalogue of de Dominici’s six paintings in Malta. The aim of this dissertation is to discuss the life of Maria de Dominici and her artistic oeuvre, and to differentiate between what is a myth and what is factual, with the hope that more correct information about her and works of art by her will be brought to light. The significance of Suor Maria de Dominici as an artist and tertiary, as well as gender issues will be studied throughout the dissertation. Finally, a conclusion about the de Dominici’s oeuvre and contribution to the story of art will be drawn out.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2017
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2017

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