Just recently, the famous restorers PREVARTI renovated to its original beauty a late
17 th century picture, oil on canvas depicting Saint John the Baptist painted by none
other than Mattia Preti. This masterpiece is found in the Church of Saint Teresa in
Built in 1626, Saint Teresa’s Church in Cospicua is an architectural gem on a
baroque-rococo style. The adjacent priory served for decades as an academic center
for missionaries to the Middle East during the days of the Order of Saint John.
Mattia Preti (1613-1699), known as il Cavaliere Calabrese, is a renowned Italian
Baroque artist in the style of Caravaggio who worked in Italy and Malta. He was also
a member of the Order of Saint John. His paintings, representative of the exuberant
late Baroque style, are held by many great museums, including important
collections in Napls, Valletta and in his hometown of Taverna.
In this work, Preti depicts the main figure of Saint John the Baptist in the foremost
plane along the other figures that make up the composition. These include members
of the Order of the Knights of Saint John and the sick and the wounded. In this scene
Saint John the Baptist is handing over a sword to a Knight, an allegory of the solemn
moment of investiture.