A new painting in the Choir of the Basilica of Senglea represents the Holy Trinity portrayed somewhat differently … with three figures depicting the elderly father, the young son and the holy spirit in the form of a dove. The painting, a work by the young Gozitan artist Manuel Farrugia, was inaugurated in a special year for the people of Senglea.
In the year in which Senglea commemorates the first centenary since the Basilica was built and the coronation of the treasured statue of Maria Bambina, on Saturday evening several gathered for the inauguration of the first part of the painting of the roof of the Basilica, a work entrusted to the young Gozitan artist Manuel Farrugia.
The completed work involves the painting of the choir which was unveiled at the end of a mass led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna on the first Saturday of the Bambina – paving the way for the celebrations of the Feast of the Bambina Maria on the eighth of September.
The Parish Priest, Canon Robin Camilleri defined this work as a dream of everyone who lives in Senglea, past and present.
“Our wish is that our church will be restored to its former pre-war glory. This parish was unfortunate in that it was hard hit during the war, 80% of this basilica fell and one parish priest after the other has continued to invest in the decoration of this basilica; now it was time to paint the roof as well. ”
The centre of the painting on the roof at the back of the altar shows the birth of Our Lady, with the Trinity watching this event, with many angels around. In the triangular parts above the windows we find two prophets: Isaiah and Ezekiel. The angels represent the messages that God sends to the world and a reminder of the message of joy that this birth brought because it led to the final chapter – waiting for the Messiah.
The Trinity is represented in a different way than we are used to seeing in churches. The artist chose to represent this mystery with three men having the same face. .
“I introduced the idea of the icon of Andrei Rublev that the figures are not painted in the traditional way – i.e the son a man, the father elderly and the spirit a dove pigeons but I inserted three people using the same face in one God. ”
Mary is seen as a baby in her mother’s womb, with her father beside her and the servants near them – a symbol that, like everyone else, Mary had her needs. The bed on which Mary gave birth gives a glimpse of a temple because her birth was holy, according to God’s will in carrying out his plan.
On a 137 metre canvas we find the 40 figures.
The Archpriest explained that the next step was to start work on the painting of Our Lady of Sorrows with the artist telling TVM that he intends to make reference to the COVID-19 pandemic because in his words art reflects the times we live in.