FLORIANA.- Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. has sponsored the conservation of an oil painting depicting one of the fourteen Stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) situated in the Sacristy of Floriana Parish Church.
Speaking about the sponsorship, Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. Assistant General Manager Mr Keith Mallia Milanes stressed the importance of supporting both the arts and Maltese national heritage.
“Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. also feels it is in duty bound to support the Floriana Parish Church since the Company forms part of the Floriana community,” Mr Mallia Milanes said.
The painting has been restored by art restorer Sabine Azzopardi. Six oil paintings on finely woven canvas remain in a very poor state of conservation. “World War II and previous unprofessional interventions contributed to their deterioration,” Ms Azzopardi said.
The restored painting witnessed extensive previous in-fills covering part of the original paint layer. The painting also suffered a 10cm-long tear. “Research and manufacturing techniques revealed that the paintings in need of restoration could be highly attributed to Rocco Buhagiar (1723-1805) since a similar complete set is found in the Sanctuary Museum of Zabbar,” Ms Azzopardi said.
Ms Azzopardi’s main area of concern was the clarity of the painting which was diminished due to the aged varnish layer and various over-paintings. The conservation intervention primarily involved the cleaning of the surface, which entailed the removal of previous in-fills. Large detachments required local consolidation. The treatment included re-establishing the unity of the textile, mending the tear and re-lining the painting on an adequate canvas. Aesthetic reintegration and the application of a final varnish layer (to protect and saturate the colours), were essential procedures in the painting’s restoration.