Restored paintings unveiled at Ta’ Pinu today

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The newly restored collection of paintings by the prominent 20th century artist Emvin Cremona, will be unveiled today, 19th June at the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary in Gozo. This event coincides with the occasion of the 125th anniversary celebrations commemorating the day Our Lady spoke to Carmela Grima.

The project for the restoration of the 20 paintings commenced in October 2005 and has been supported throughout by the Bank of Valletta, under the Heritage Pillar of its Community Programme, through a total sponsorship of €23,000. The collection will form part of a permanent exhibition in a Hall which will be inaugurated today by Roderick Chalmers, Chairman, Bank of Valletta.

The 20 works, completed by Emvin Cremona between the years 1954 and 1962, were hung in the Sanctuary until they were sent to Italy for the mosaics to be reproduced off them. On their return the paintings were subsequently stored in a closet in the chapel and eventually lay forgotten. Some of these paintings suffered great damage following prolonged dampness and poor storage conditions.

The Gozitan restorer Godwin Cutajar was entrusted with the restoration and conservation project of all the paintings, most of which were damaged with holes, tears, cracks and superficial dirt. The restoration process of most of these paintings included the reinforcement of tears and creases. The paintings were successively stretched and nailed onto a new wooden stretcher and where necessary, superficial dirt and in some cases even straw, was removed. Where gold and silver leaf fragments disturbed the aesthetic look, although part of the painting’s history, these were removed. The paintings also necessitated the filling up of lacunae, another important step for giving the painting a more unified look. Lacunae on the painted areas were filled with restoration paints and those that also had the preparatory layer missing were deeper and were thus filled with stucco.

An organ recital by Dr Hugo Agius Muscat will precede the inauguration of the permanent exhibition in a new museum room that was set up for this purpose.

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