Watch: Trompe-l’œil – the art of the imaginary

The extensive restoration work done on the famous painting of the imaginary dome of the Gozo Cathedral has been inaugurated. The canvas that was removed a year ago has now been put back in place, twenty meters above ground level, and has been restored to its original glory. The restorer Pierre Bugeja referred to the restoration of such works of art as a great challenge.

“It was an ongoing challenge because of the difficulties encountered. It is the largest painting to be removed from its place and brought over to Malta for restoration. Even getting it down and transporting it was a huge challenge. It weights Half a ton and when restoring it we wanted to use materials that would last for many years.

The false dome of the Gozo Cathedral is the work of Antonio Manuele Messina who worked on it in 1739, and is the largest painting of its style in the islands – known as trompe d’oeil art, it is artistic illusion. Allegedly because there were not enough funds to build the dome, it was built on a flat surface upon which the dome was painted. It is popular with visitors who visit the cathedral and admire this work of art.

Mr Noel Formosa, who is in charge of the project, said that through this project, several restoration and conservation works in thirteen churches in Gozo were being carried out. “This particular project is of great importance and was the reason we chose it among all the projects we are working on in Gozo – not only for the world of art in Gozo, but also the art world in general. ”

This restoration is part of a project being carried out by Care Association within the Diocese of Gozo, co-financed by the European Union. Minister for Gozo, Justyne Caruana, said that the work was carried out by means of a two and a half million euro fund and further work was intended to carried out to preserve Gozo’s historical heritage.

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