A set of paintings by Chev Emvin Cremona decorating the Main Altar of The Parish of The Blessed Virgin of Lourdes in Paola, is currently undergoing a rigorous process of restoration and conservation at PrevArti’s laboratory in Mosta. The project, supported by Bank of Valletta, is another one from a series of similar projects undertaken by the local bank.
The set of paintings dates back to 1968 and boasts a vertical 8-metre high titular painting of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes; two horizontal 5-metre wide paintings depicting various Saints; and 6 smaller paintings, depicting angels which decorate and perfectly harmonise the whole set. These works of art, a main attraction of this church, reside behind the Altar, just across the main entrance.
The restoration process commenced once the paintings were dismantled and transported to the laboratory and its completion is envisaged to be at end of June 2021. Photos of the front and back of each painting were taken prior to the start of treatment, following which, cleaning tests were carried out to tackle the removal of accumulated dust and dirt and ensure that the safest and most efficient methods are used.
Head Conservator, Pierre Bugeja explained that the paintings were never varnished and therefore lacked a protective layer, most probably due to the fact that this had to be applied on location following the installation towards the end of the 1960’s. Once each painting undergoes the cleaning process, the infilling and retouching of losses together with the application of varnish will be carried out.
Prior to the re-installation of the paintings, the wooden frames which support the canvases will be strengthened and consolidated.
During a visit to PrevArti’s workshop, BOV PR & Marketing Executive, Charles Azzopardi, admired the beauty and prestige of these works by Emvin Cremona, while Parish Priest, Rev John Muscat expressed his eagerness to welcome back the set of paintings in his Parish Church.