‘Our Lady of Lourdes with Angels and Saints’, by Emvin Cremona has been restored through Bank of Valletta’s support.
This titular painting, signed and dated 1968 by Cremona himself, and found at the Parish of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes in Paola, is made up of nine separate parts to make a whole. The vertical central painting depicting Our Lady is flanked by six smaller paintings, three on each side, depicting angels, and two horizontal laterals placed towards the bottom on either side of the central painting depicting groups of figures. The oils on canvas were fixed onto wood, with the lower paintings curving inwards to follow the contours of the church.
The palette is typical of Cremona as he uses subtle and delicate colour tones including gold leaf that acts as a background for the six angels. The drapery folds retain the angularity and sharp accents which are also characteristic of Cremona’s painting style. Even though the gold dominates, the main importance was still given to the central painting which represents Our Lady due to its positioning.
BOV Chief Risk Officer, Miguel Borg, met with Parish Priest Fr John Muscat and Pierre Bugeja from Prevarti, who were entrusted with the restoration works when the paintings were returned to their rightful place following the meticulous conservation and restoration process.
‘The restoration of these works is a commitment not to the past, but to the Future’ said the BOV CRO admiring the beauty and prestige of these works. ‘The conservation of our rich cultural heritage forms an integral part of the Bank’s ESG Strategy, with the aim of preserving the identity of our unique Maltese Community.’
‘The paintings were in a fair state of conservation, however the accumulation of dust and dirt over time led to the paintings appearing darker than they were originally,’ said Pierre Bugeja. ‘Another concern was that blooming had developed on top of the paint layer In the lateral paintings, with these issues reversed through the restoration process that respected the authenticity and original materials according to today’s best practices.’
Fr Muscat concluded by expressing his satisfaction for the outcome of the restoration project and thanked Bank of Valletta for its support.