Various designs of works of ecclesiastical arts and and architectures in Gozitan churches, including at the Ta’ Pinu sanctuary, are being exhibited in Gozo till the end of this month. The designs, the work of Vincenzo Bonello, are being exibited on the 130 anniversary of his birth.
Vincenzo Bonello, born in Valletta in 1891, had established the National Museum of Arts, at the time the Auberge d’Italie, in the second quarter of last century.
He set up and taught in the Arts School in Valletta and in 1940 was arrested and interned due to his sympathies with the Italian culture and eventually deported to Uganda. Back in Malta after the end of World War II, he designed various buildings and works for churches in Malta and Gozo, and was instrumental in the setting up of the Mdina Cathedral and Valletta Co-Cathedral museums and a curator of various prestigious exhibitions.
The exhibition with Bonello’s designs is being held at the Mużew il-Ħaġar in Rabat Gozo. Vincenzo’s son, Judge Emeritus Giovanni Bonello, says that his father was a traditionalist, however he used to adapt to the needs and circumstances of his works.
“He used to adapt himself to the decorations for the existing environment. That is, when he worked for the Ta’ Pinu church, his style was romanesque; in churches it was a baroque style, but he also did modern style. For example, the dais of the 1938 Eucharistic Congress was one of the few modern works for that period”.
In Gozo, he left his mark in the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu where he designed decorative works, such as the baldachin and the pulpit. He also designed various altars for the Kerċem church, the Mġarr Lourdes chapel and other works in Xagħra and Qala churches.
Gozo will be forever grateful to Vincenzo Bonello who in 1950, greatly contributed to save the Banca Giuratale at the heart of Victoria city. This unique baroque style building in Gozo was about to be demolished to make way for more market sellers in the Tokk, with his son writing to politicians who gave way to the pressure and the Banca Giuratale still exists.