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Title: Signs and symbols in the late medieval and early modern period in painting in Malta
Authors: Fenech, Tamara
Keywords: Christian art and symbolism -- Malta
Painting, Medieval -- Malta
Painting, Renaissance -- Malta
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: My main objective is to analyze and explore signs and symbolism in paintings and frescoes so as to delve deeper into its art and discover its intrinsic meaning. My first area of concern is the signs and symbols in sacred art in the Late Medieval and the Early Modern painting in Malta. This study does not follow any chronological order but is broken down into a thematical format of seven chapters, focusing on specific themes. The first chapter looks into the paintings on the scenes from the Passion of Christ from the Golgotha scene including the Crucifixion, the Lamentation and the Deposition. The second chapter is dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary as an intermediary to the human race. The third chapter explores the iconography in the Assumption of the Virgin and bases the study on the Kyrie eleison prayer. The next four chapters deal with themes on various saints and the symbols in their attributes namely, St. George and the Dragon, St. John the Baptist, St. Paul and St. Catherine. During my research I became aware of the lack of material available on the meaning of symbols in iconography. My primary sources were the works themselves whereas my secondary sources consist of publications which had been produced over the years and which were relevant to the subject. I used the documented books of Profs. Mario Buhagiar, as my main research guidance such as The Late Medieval Art and Architecture of the Maltese Islands, The Iconography of the Maltese Islands, 1400 – 1900 painting, Essays on the Knights and Art and Architecture in Malta and Baroque Art in Malta by Dr. Keith Sciberras. Otherwise research for the choice of paintings and for the extracting of information was found scattered in various publications such as illustrated books on art, text books, lecture notes, dictionaries, the periodicals Treasures of Malta, Heritage, Civilization and from various dissertations available at the University Melitensia, and from my own personal visits to various churches and museums. Scriptural references were included where appropriate, in order to provide a Christian framework throughout. The words which represented the signs and symbols were written by starting them with a capital letter. The signs refer to the body language and the symbols are the material objects perceived in the paintings and frescoes. The various paintings chosen are both of local as well as foreign execution, intended to explore further the symbolic meanings through comparisons, similarities and connections in their iconographies, within a historical and an artistic context. My work does not aim at exhausting every aspect of the iconography of the sacred art but to explore the symbols in their context so as to make them more comprehensible to the public and therefore more valued. I hope that this dissertation may pave the way for other future studies in this area.
Description: B.A.(HONS)ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2011

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