Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: The Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Dominic’s Priory, Valletta : a total work of art
Authors: Portanier, Hannah
Keywords: Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament (Valletta, Malta)
Painting, Baroque -- Malta -- Valletta
Mural painting and decoration -- Malta -- Valletta
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This goal of this thesis is to analyse, both from a stylistic and iconographical viewpoint, the many paintings, sculptures and other works of art which are found at the Oratory of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in Valletta. Another aim is to analyse the importance of the oratory of the Blessed Sacrament, whilst highlighting the most significant years of the oratory and to convey the idea that this oratory is a total work of art. Chapter 1 will focus on setting up the context for the oratory, whilst explaining the history of the archconfraternity and that of the Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament. This Oratory, annexed to the Parish Church dedicated to Our Lady of Fair Heavens in Valletta, is a total work of art. It is truly breathtaking and is a magnificent place of worship, designed in the spirit of Roman Baroque. Its walls are adorned with captivating paintings by, amongst others, Mattia Preti, Giuseppe D’Arena and Alessio Erardi. Chapter 2 will analyse the importance of the works of art, whilst explaining their iconography and also touching upon their state of preservation. Comparisons and differences will be explored. The patrons will also be analysed. Chapter 3 will explore the sculptures, the apse, the reredos and other works. Found within the oratory are stone statues of various saints as well as intricate gold designs. The oratory also boasts the first Gloria to have been executed in Malta. What immediately captivates the viewer is the reference, in every corner of the oratory, to the Eucharist. The Counter Reformation movement created a new art form, with new rules, to revive the Catholic Church in its attempt to combat the Protestant movement. The Council of Trent firmly resisted Protestant objections to using images in religious worship, insisting that they were necessary to teach the laity. Throughout Europe, baroque art thus became a powerful weapon of propaganda both within churches as well as within oratories. An oratory is a place where the members of a confraternity can meet to pray and worship Christ. The Archconfraternity of the Blessed Sacrament was founded in 1575 by Monsignor Pietro Dusina. The history of the Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament has been documented by Fr Philip Mallia in his 1975 publication. In 1988, Emanuel V. Borg had published a short artistic evaluation of the artworks found within. Various paintings, in particular the titular painting by Mattia Preti, were referred to in a few publications over the past years. Various scholars have written in depth about Mattia Preti such as John T. Spike and Keith Sciberras. This is the first study where the entire works of art, found at the oratory, are analysed in detail. In this thesis, I make a distinction between the most important works of art and the ones of lesser importance. Some paintings such as the titular by Mattia Preti representing the Institution of the Eucharist, have a high degree of art historical importance whilst other paintings are today found heavily restored in a rather unfortunate manner breaking up the stylistic unity in the Oratory.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2017
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2017

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
  Restricted Access
12.3 MBAdobe PDFView/Open Request a copy

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.