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Title: The artistic patronage of the religious confraternities at the parish church of St Paul Shipwreck in Valletta : an art-historical analysis
Authors: Spiteri, Mariestelle
Keywords: Confraternities -- Malta -- History
Valletta (Malta) -- Church history
Church architecture -- Malta -- Valletta
Collegiate Church of St. Paul's Shipwreck (Valletta, Malta)
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation seeks to analyse the mechanics of patronage of lay religious confraternities in St Paul’s Shipwreck church in Valletta, Malta, between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries. This study seeks to show the extraordinary corpus of works of art and architecture of these confraternities and place them within their suitable historic and social context following the post-Tridentine spirit. The present study can be divided into four chapters in seeking to trace such artistic development. The first is a synoptic essay to reconstruct the evolution of confraternities from their initial stages to the late twentieth century, exploring the administrative aspects through the body of officials, examining their charitable organizations and obligations. The second chapter analyses the immediate impact such pious organizations had to the commission of works of art. The third chapter deals with the significance of confraternal spaces and their chapels’ decorations, with specific documentation when possible. The fourth chapter has catalogue entries on a select number of works of art commissioned by confraternity members, or donated by individual patrons to such confraternities; these include altar paintings, silverware and processional statuary. The second volume represents a transcription of documents presented to support the discussions provided throughout this study. They serve to buttress the extracts provided in the text and footnotes. This section is also splendidly accompanied by a number of photographs taken by the author, except for certain plates who were taken from Sciberras 2009; Cassar 2011, due to bad light inside the church. Research for this study necessitated time on a number of archival work belonging to confraternities located at St Paul’s Shipwreck church, mainly; Archivio della Confraternità del SS. Sacramento, Valletta; Archivio della Confraternità della B.V. della Carità, Valletta; Archivio della Confraternità di di Crispino e Crispiniano, Valletta; Archivio della Confraternità di S. Homo Bono, Valletta; Archivio della Confraternità di S. Agata V.M., Valletta; Archivio della Confraternità di S. Martino Vescovo, Valletta and, Archivio dell’Insigne Collegiata di San Paolo Naufrago. Together with volumes at the National Library, at the Archiepiscopal archives; at the Notarial Archives in Valletta, amongst others as specified throughout the text and in the footnotes. This study is further structured upon work undertaken by: J. Galea, Il-Parroċċa ta’ San Pawl Naufragu Tal-Belt Valletta, Miġbura mid-dokumenti għall-ewwel darba, Malta 1944 and M. Galea, Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ San Pawl Nawfragu Valletta: Ġabra ta’ tagħrif u ġrajjiet, Malta, 1974. Of importance is the number of Programm tal-Festa San Pawl Nawfragu Valletta, Malta, which also gives an important contribution to a number of individual art works with archival research when possible. A recent book which has also contributed to this study is R. Cassar, The Collegiate Church of The Shipwreck of St Paul, Malta, 2011. This study also aims in providing a coherent contextual analysis of lay religious confraternities in Malta with specific reference to the ones located in St Paul’s Shipwreck church, Valletta and in the understanding of the mechanism of patronage played by such pious groups. By re-examining their archives and analysing their artistic contributions consisting in pictorial images, statues, marble work, precious silverware and other objets d’art, a study is being attempt in giving new interpretations to confraternal artistic commissions.
Description: M.A.HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2014

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