A Melchiorre Cafa’ statuette gilded in bronze and silver, depicting Santa Roża of Lima has raised great interest among history, arts and cultural heritage enthusiasts after it was added to Heritage Malta’s national collection and exhibited at MUŻA.
Heritage Malta purchased the Cafa’s piece some months ago during an auction.
Acting chief executive Noel Zammit said: “It was in a private collection and now has joined the works by renowned sculptor Melchiorre Cafa’, who excelled in Maltese baroque works, which he sculptured in Rome and was well known for his precision work”.
The statuette is considered as the most beautiful piece sculptured by Cafa’, who reproduced the original statue of the first woman saint of the Americas for her beatification in April 1668.
Professor Keith Sciberras from the University’s Art and History Department said that Cafa’ completed the great marble statue three years before the beatification.
“What is wonerful is that the statue was sent from Rome on its way to Peru – imagine at that time sending a statue from Rome to Seville in Spain, then towards Cuba, to Panama and then to Peru. Many statues of Santa Roża were sculptured for the occasion, this was a celebrity”.
Melchiorre Cafa’ was born at Vittoriosa and went to Rome at the age of 22. He was to be the artistic protagonist of the saint’s beatification, however he died tragically at the age of 31, seven months before the event.
His statuette and other works in Roman Baroque style were discussed during a public talk by Professor Sciberras.