- This marble pedestal has a relief carved with different scenes of St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, and has also the figure of St. Paul; the patron saint of the Maltese islands. The work was commissioned in 1503, by the Church of Santa Maria ta Gesu in Rabat (Malta), to serve as a base for the marble statue of the Madonna and Child, also by the Sicilian sculptor Antonello Gagini (1478- 1536). Before the arrival of the Order of Saint John in Malta, during the early 16th century, when this work was commissioned, the feudal lords were exploiting the poor and there were raids by Muslims and pirates. There was also the plague and the draught. However, in spite of all this, the period also witnessed an unexpected boom in church building and a flowering of the arts. There were two main schools of Art at the time in Malta: the Vernacular art of the countryside and a school of informed artistic production, the patrons being the aristocracy living in Mdina and the Western mendicant friars, who established links with art workshops in Sicily. Maltese patrons had established contacts with the workshop of the Gagini family of sculptors. Apart from this work exhibited here, another important commission given to the Gagini workshop was the white marble font, commissioned by the Cathedral in Mdina. The work was carried out by the workshop of the father of Antonello, Domenico Gagini (ca. 1425/1430- 1492). It was through such channels that the first hints of a Renaissance sensibility in the visual arts reached the Maltese islands.
- Repository/Location: National Museum of Fine Arts (Valletta, Malta)
- : Width: 46. 5 cm
- Early Renaissance [Create]
- Early 16th century [Create]
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