The National Museum of Fine Arts is the principal museum of arts on Malta. Established in 1974 in the capital city Valletta, it stores collections of both Maltese and foreign artists and gives an overview of the arts on Malta from the 15th and until the 20th century, representing practically all the major European artistic styles. Among the permanent exhibitions guests of the museum will find precious paintings, sculptures, furniture and household items as well as many others exponents worth of their interest.
Initially settled in the Admiralty House, the museum moves to the Auberge d’Italie in September 2016, where it is to be reopened under the name of MUZA, the acronym of the Maltese Mużew tal-Arti. This relocation is a part of the European Capital of Culture programme.
The Admiralty House, where the museum was primarily established, is the 16th-century palace which was reconstructed in the Italian Baroque style for the knight Raimondo de Sousa y Silva in the 18th century. From 1821 to 1961 it was the residence of the Mediterranean Fleet Commander-in-Chief. This is where the building got its present name of the Admiralty House. The central composition of the building and the object which attracts separate tourists’ attention is the main staircase, being one the finest example of its kind in Europe. The museum’s collection partially consists of the objects previously stored in the National Museum which was located at Auberge de Provence. After this museum became the National Museum of Archaeology and stayed with archaeological artifacts only, a significant part of the collection was moved to the National Museum of Fine Arts.
Among the permanent exhibitions the visitors of Fine Arts museum will be able to see the largest collection of Mattia Pretti’s paintings, performed in the Baroque style. This Italian-born artist also took a great part in works on St. John’s Co-Cathedral’s interior. In particular, he painted the vaulted cathedral’s ceilings. Two entire halls of the museum devoted to the precious collection of his arts.
Among the other artists, whose works are represented in the museum, guests will find works of Bernardo Strozzi, Caravaggisti Valentin de Boulogne, Carlo Maratta, Giuseppe Ribera and Matthias Stom. A number of British, Dutch and French artists are also represented as permanent exhibits. A special attention is deserved by the collection of Maltese landscapes represented by such artists as Edward Lear, Louis Ducros, Joseph Mallord, William Turner and some local Maltese artists.
Wonderful sculptures made of wood, bronze, and marble can also be observed in the museum. The statuary was created by such recognized Maltese sculptors as Antonio Sciortino and Melchiorre Gafà. Another prominent collection of the museum is the one of the antique maps. As to the exhibits of the household items, the guests of the museum will find furniture, majolica jars, and silverware.
Being in Valetta do not miss a chance to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts and see its rich collections including the early Renaissance objects as well as fascinating modern and contemporary pieces of arts. It is also possible that you will be lucky to catch some other interesting exponents as the museum’s calendar is quite rich for various temporary exhibitions.