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Title: An inventory of Alessio Erardi's paintings and books
Authors: Debono, John
Keywords: Erardi, Alessio, 1669-1727
Painters -- Malta -- 17th century
Painters -- Malta -- 18th century
Personal belongings
Issue Date: 1989
Publisher: Peresso P.
Citation: Debono, J. (1989). An inventory of Alessio Erardi's paintings and books. Malta : Peresso P.
Abstract: At the turn of the seventeenth century the Erardis, Stefano and Alessio, were accorded special honour due to their artistic talents were. The artistic surroundings provided by Stefano Erardi must have exerted a deep influence on his son, Alessio and together they produced a vast number of paintings. The full development of their artistic careers and achievements has still to be written. This does not imply that research about it has not been undertaken. In these last years many have submitted noteworthy appraisals of surviving artistic works of this family of painters. It comes as a surprise that in a recently complied book about artists by N. De Piro, though Stefano Erardi is mentioned, his son, Alessio is completely omitted. Stefano, Alessio's father, had been a noteworthy figure in the artistic circles of Malta. He acquired prestige in his own time though very little is known of his artistic career. It is not intended here to make a study of Stefano Erardi's contribution to art but some further, previously unknown, details are available in his surviving will of 1 March 1710 and its codicil dated 14 January 1715. Unfortunately they do not contain precise information on the exact number or the kind of his paintings. They reveal that those bequeathed to his brother priest, Pietro, were landscapes and that he had painted quite a number. It might occur that on further investigation of the records one might be able to find the inventory of all possessions including that of the paintings. Alessio, like his father, enhanced the artistic prestige of his family name. Before he died on 22 March 1727 he had signed a formal will on 10 June 1726. He was survived by two heirs, Anna Famucelli, his wife, and a son, Stefano, still a minor. On 28 August 1727, an inventory describing all Alessio's possessions was formally compiled. The inventory is detailed in many respects, mentioning his possessions type by type: immovables; gold and silver articles; movables and furniture; money at hand; money due from debtors and their names including patrons of his works; bad debts and how they had arisen; and most important of all, a list of paintings existing at home, on the premises of his friends Conte de Harach, General of the galley fleet, Father Giuseppe Mottett and Father Pietro Erardi, his uncle. Amounts of colour paint presumably designed for use in his artistic works; books; statues used as models; decorations of fire arms and brass; besides other items, are also listed. Gleaning through the pages of the inventory, the art historian will find more information than he had probably expected to find. Perusing them, he will acquire a glimpse of the private life of the artist, his acquaintances, the method he used to deal with his patrons' commissions, his personal friends, his tastes, his cultural interests, his family background and his artistic achievement. It has been possible to count 629 works of art in this inventory: 284 of these works can be ascribed to religious motifs; 217 to still life, landscapes, and marine scenes; and 128 to other topics mainly sea battles, mythological scenes, and portraits. The inventory reveals that Alessio had had quite a comfortable life more conforming to a European style than to that of a normal Maltese person. His artistic tastes, his love of religion, history and mythology also found an expression in his library. It is hoped that this contribution might spur future art historians to undertake further research and possibly review their assessment of Alessio's contribution to art in Malta. In this way one trusts no one will again dare to ignore him in future.
Description: Item was kindly bequeathed to UM Library by Prof. Godfrey Wettinger and forms part of the Godfrey Wettinger Bequest.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCFAPai

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