Entrance of the National Museum for Fine Art
The National Museum for Fine Art
The Auberge d'Italy, the former housing of the Italian knights or the Order. At present the National Museum of Fine Arts, called MUZA, is housed in the Auberge d'Italie.
From 1974 until 2016 the National Museum of Fine Arts was located in South Street, in a former building of the Order of St John, and during the British Period, the Admiralty.
The National Museum of Fine Arts provides a wide and varied overview of art in Malta, ranging from the Late Medieval period to modern times. Auberge d'Italie was designed by Girolamo Cassar in his usual austere Mannerist style and housed the Italian Knights of the Order, who had to vacate their premises on St George's Square when the buildings were refurbished to form the Grand Master's Palace. During the 17th century, further modifications were made to the building and in 1680, Grand Master Gregorio Carafa gave the building its baroque character. There is a large commemorative sculpture over the new entrance of the auberge, dedicated to this Grand Master Carafa.
After the French expelled the Order in 1798, it was used for various purposes, such as school, an officer's mess, military headquarters, the General Post Office, government departments and finally, until recently, the Malta Tourism Authority.Both local and internationally acclaimed artists have their works exhibited, among others William Turner, Albert Bierstadt, Valentin de Boulogne, Jusepe Ribera, Guido Reni and Antoine de Favret. It has also the largest collection of works of the Italian painter Mattia Preti (famous for his work in the St John's Co-Cathedral). Furthermore, there are collections of precious Maltese silverware, statuary in marble bronze and wood, fine furniture items and splendid majolica pieces. Antonio Sciortino was a famous Maltese sculptor, whose work can be classified as 'futurist'. A bronze copy of one of his works, Les Gavroches, characters from the novel 'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo, is permanently exhibited in the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
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