PA funds to support completion of conservation of Perez D’Aleccio masterpiece

PA funds to support completion of conservation of Perez D’Aleccio masterpiece
January 2023 Claudette Buttigieg

The conservation project linked with the unique wall paintings that illustrate the 1565 Great Siege battle at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta will soon be completed after the Planning Authority (PA) donated an additional €70,000 towards the project. Back in 2020, the Authority
had already committed €75,000 towards this project. The donation was made to the Research, Innovation & Development Trust (RIDT) of the University of Malta.

The project which in its totality is costing €300,000 is being carried out by the Department of Conservation and Built Heritage within the University of Malta and Heritage Malta, under the auspices of the Office of the President of Malta.

Set in the Grand Council Chamber of the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta, the wall paintings cycle offers a unique – and historically accurate – depiction of the Siege, when the far outnumbered Maltese, led by the Knights Hospitaller, successfully defended the island from attempted invasion by the Ottoman Empire.


Great Siege veteran Grand Master Fra Jean de Cassiere (1572-1581) invited artist Matteo Perez d’Aleccio (1547-1628) to Malta in 1577 to depict the four-month siege. Using eyewitness accounts and written reports, d’Aleccio created a narrative sequence of the Siege
across a series of 12 scenes, recording in exquisite and true detail a defining episode in Malta’s history.

Mr Oliver Magro, Executive Chairperson at the Planning Authority said “we are particular proud of our association with this restoration project. Our sponsorship of €145,000 towards the restoration of these magnificent wall paintings will ensure that this national treasure will
be enjoyed by future generations. We commend the sterling work being carried out by the Department of Conservation and Built Heritage at the University of Malta, led by Prof JoAnn Cassar and her team.” “Our support for projects that promote and preserve Malta’s heritage
will continue in the future.”

The Minister for Public Works and Planning Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi showed his satisfaction with the substantial contribution made by the Planning Authority while he thanked the Department of Conservation and Built Heritage for the management and supervision of this project. The Minister said, “It is very satisfying to see a conservation project of this type come to an end while simultaneously serving as a platform for future projects of the same level”. Minister Zrinzo Azzopardi concluded by saying that this project also reflects the Government’s commitment to preserving our country’s cultural heritage and the wise and structured use of public funds.

The Rector of the University of Malta, Prof Alfred Vella said “Apart from the traditional roles of teaching and research, a modern university is expected to understand the requirements of its community and to actively participate in the strengthening of society.” He added that “this
monumental painting belongs to our society and is part of our identity as a nation. The University of Malta, through its Department of Conservation and Built Heritage took on this conservation as part of its mission, and we are indebted to organisations such as the Planning Authority and others, who provided the financial backup for such undertaking.”