Bank of Valletta supports Our Lady of Loreto restoration project
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Bank of Valletta is supporting the restoration process of a number of paintings at the old church in Ghajnsielem dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto. The Titular painting by Zejtun-born Mikiel Busuttil is currently in an advanced state of restoration.
The old parish church dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto was built between 1810 and 1820. On the 9th September 1820, Busuttil’s painting was brought by procession from Nadur and placed above the main altar of what was the parish church at the time.
Almost two hundred years later, the painting was in dire need of restoration. The task of reversing the signs of the passage of time and conserving this masterpiece in the best possible state for future generations to enjoy was entrusted to Emanuel Zammit, once the support of Bank of Valletta was secured. Fr Frankie Bajada, Ghajnsielem Parish Priest and Kenneth Micallef, Head CEO’s Office at Bank of Valletta paid a visit to Mr Zammit’s workshop to see the progress of the restoration works.
“It is fascinating to note that in all probability, some parts of Busuttil’s original painting were painted over by Giuseppe Cali. In fact, the style of the whole painting is closer to Cali’s, who also painted the xx other works of art that adorn the Church,” said the restorer.
He added, “nost of Our Lady’s dress had been painted over. We are currently going through the painstaking process of removing the top layer of paint to reveal the original painting underneath.”
“The removal of the top layer of paint has also revealed the original artist’s signature and date,” continued Mr Zammit. “The painting is also being subjected to an extensive cleaning process to remove a number of layers of varnish that have deteriorated over the years and now are merely covering up the vibrant colours entrapped underneath them.”
“Bank of Valletta’s commitment towards the national heritage has made the Bank’s name synonymous with several ambitious restoration projects over the past years. Every project involves years of challenging and meticulous work, but the feeling of satisfaction when another piece of the national patrimony is restored to its former glory makes it all worthwhile,” explained Kenneth Micallef. “
“Our collaboration with the Ghajnsielem Parish Church does not end with the titular painting but extends to a number of paintings by renowned artist Giuseppe Cali. To this date, this humble church attracts a continuous flow of devout pilgrims to its doors. We are really looking forward to increasing the appeal of this church once all paintings are restored and find their place back within the old church walls.”