- The painting was originally part of the decorations inside the rock cut chapel adjoining the Abatija tad- Dejr Catacombs in Rabat, below the old capital city of Mdina. It is one of the last works in the siculo Byzantinesque tradition and comes from a period when Basilian monasticism was losing ground in the face of stiff Latin competition.
- The painting was removed and transferred to the Musuem of Fine Arts in 1988. This delicate operation was necessary as the fresco surface - already seriously damaged in the past, was noted to be deteriorating at a more rapid rate. The damage to the countenances of the central figures appears to have been incurred by some Muslim fanatics during the 1551 brief siege of Mdina. Other instances of similar defacement, due to the Muslim taboo on the depiction of the human form, are known and documented for other Medieval frescoes in the Maltese islands.
- An agreement between Heritage Malta and Din l-Art Helwa (a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to the preservation of cultural heritage) was the outcome of a commonly felt need to join forces for the long-term preservation of this important site that had been subject to much neglect, and hence damage, over the years. Heritage Malta's Preventive Conservation Section and Diagnostic Science Laboratories have drawn up a condition assessment report which includes recommendations for the sustainable conservation management of the site in the short, medium, and long term.
- In the centre is Christ dead on the cross flanked by the Madonna and Saint John. At both extremities of the painting are the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary forming the Annunciation scene. Thus the story of man`s redemption is told.
- Inscription: Inscriptions in Latin identifying personages have disappeared except for the one indicating the Mother of God. A 1647 account , however, recorded the following: VIKTOR MORTIS, inscribed on one of the arms of the cross, while ANGELUS GABRIEL and M. DOMINI appeared near the respective heads of the Annunciating Angel, and the Virgin Annunciate. In the Golgotha scene the abbriviated word MAT was written next to the sorrowing Virgin, and IOH, next to Saint John the Evangelist.
- Repository/Location: National Museum of Fine Arts (Valletta, Malta)
- : 210 x 106 cm
- Gothic [Create]
- Byzantine [Create]
- Probably 15th century [Create]
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