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National Museum of Fine Arts
Country: MaltaAddress: South Street, Valletta VLT 11 Website: www.maltaart.com/pretismall Uploaded artworks: 3 Uploaded artist: 3
Malta's own National Museum of Fine Arts is run by Heritage Malta as the national agency for cultural heritage. It is located in the capital city of Valletta at the lower end of South street. The area is the seat of fine historical palaces dating from the times of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and now used by government Ministries and Departments. The building was originally one of the earliest buildings in Valletta, but was later largely rebuilt during the 1760s by a wealthy Portuguese knight of the Order of St John Bali Fra Ramon de Sousa y Silva who used the palace as his private home. During he early 19th century the palace was also home to Louis-Charles of Orleans, Comte de Beaujolais during his brief stay on the island followed shortly by his demise. It later became known as Admiralty House and seat of the Commander-in Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet and residence to high-ranking personalities such as Lord Mountbatten of Burma.
The palace was officially inaugurated as the National Museum of Fine Arts in 1974.
The Museum of Fine arts houses the major part of the national collection of Malta. Those belonging to the original nucleus were kept in buildings belonging to the Order of the Knights of St John , such as the Magistral Palace, the various auberges, the churches belonging to the Order, and the other places falling directly under the administration of the Order. In 1992 the National Museum of Malta was reorganised and a Fine Arts Section formed, headed by the late Vincenzo Bonello who promptly embarked upon a courageous policy of expansion. He thus acquired numerous works-of-art of excellent quality, mostly purchased at a time when prices in the art-market where still within reach of the Museum's modest budget.Important acquisitions were affected and public spirited individuals left significant bequests. The collection is displayed in a broadly chronological manner featuring mainly paintings from the 15th century until the 20th century. Sculpture works, Furniture items, Maiolica and Maltese historic silverware are also on display. Key works on exhibit include paintings by Guido Reni, Valentin de Boulogne, Jusepe Ribera, Albert Bierstadt and William Turner. The museum also has a significant collection of works by the Southern Italian Baroque artist Mattia Preti deemed to be the biggest collection of works on exhibit in any museum. Maltese artists of note represented in the collection on display include Melchiorre Cafa and Antonio Sciortino.
Today the Museum of Fine Arts houses a collection of works-of-art which is still small in comparison with the huge holdings kept in the metropolitan centres of Europe and America. Yet it successfully brings together paintings, sculptures and works of art of the finest quality.
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