This publication is the result of some thirty years of research engaging with Caravaggio’s Maltese phase by Prof Keith Sciberras. Malta, impressively, played a role in giving Caravaggio’s art the platform that it deserved, celebrating him in a manner that no other patron or place did, and this work aims to show this. In its method, this book, primarily, contextualises Caravaggio’s work and his life-story within the framework of Malta and within the mechanics of patronage and the peculiarity of its system of government. It engages with Caravaggio’s Maltese paintings and presents them not as objects of visual delight or seduction but as conveyors of meanings and experiences that engage with the self and the consciousness of reality. The Oratory of the Decollato in Valletta, for example, ceased to be a dormant architectural space once Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John the Baptist was installed. It became a space of experience, captivating exchange its audience, penetrating into mental frameworks, thoughts and emotions. The profundity of this exchange blurs the boundaries between object and viewer, strengthening the view that the ultimate meaning of this work lies not solely within the confines of the sense of sight.
Student paperback edition now available!