Hello, today we had a chance to visit the capital of Malta, first by walking around the heart of the city and then by boat.
The flag of Malta is white and red with the George Cross in the corner. The George Cross was awarded to Malta by George VI of the United Kingdom in 1942 for the heroism of Maltese people during the great siege that took place at the beginning of the Second World War.
Valletta. The Knights of St John founded Valletta in the 16th century, creating the finest fortified city in Europe. Having been ravaged during World War II, it is now being restored to its former glory.
Here is the founder of the town – Fra’ Jean Parisot de Valette, the 49th Grand Master of the Order of St John:
Please notice how fortified the city is still today after all the sieges and bombings during WWII.
St John’s Co-Cathedral, in Valletta, is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. Many of the Order of St John are buried here including Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette, who built Valletta.
The church is considered to be one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe and one of the world’s great cathedrals.
And now the most famous painting in the Cathedral and in Malta:
This image is taken from: en.wikipedia.org. Tourists are not allowed to take pictures of this famous painting.
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
The image depicts the execution of John the Baptist while nearby Salome stands with a golden platter to receive his head. Another woman, who has been identified as Herodias or simply a bystander who realizes that the execution is wrong, stands by in shock while a jailer issues instructions and the executioner draws his dagger to finish the beheading. The scene, popular with Italian artists in general and with Caravaggio himself, is not directly inspired by the Bible, but rather by the tale as related in Golden Legend.
It is the only work by Caravaggio to bear the artist’s signature, which he has placed in red blood spilling from the Baptist’s cut throat. There is considerable empty space in the image, but because the canvas is quite large the figures are approximately life-sized.
According to John Varriano in Caravaggio: the Art of Realism (2006), Caravaggio drew the background for his picture from the depiction of a prison in the Knights of Malta’s penal code. (Wikipedia)
Now I would like to invite you to join us on our harbour cruise along the walls and fortifications of Valletta:
I had to take the picture of this boat:
Source: Malta, Insight Guide. Ed. Rebecca Lovell and Wikipedia.