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New galleries and animated paintings at MUŻA this holiday season

Heritage Malta will be opening five new galleries to the public at MUŻA – the Malta National Community Art Museum in Valletta, along with the launch of a programme of artistic laser projections which will feature in the museum’s courtyard throughout this coming festive season. In the past months, Heritage Malta has made the most of the unfavourable pandemic situation to improve upon the organisation and accessibility of its collections and museum experience, and MUŻA was no exception.

Besides the ongoing digitisation projects and work on the reserve collections, these months were crucial to make general improvements in the gallery spaces and also finalise displays in the new exhibition spaces in the Europe and Empire Galleries. Five new galleries are set to open on the 11th of December showcasing masterpieces from renowned artists such as the celebrated Italian Baroque artist Mattia Preti, the prolific French painter Antoine Favray and the acclaimed Maltese artist in his days nicknamed ‘the devil of the brush’- Giuseppe Calì, along with various other artists of their times.

Collectively the exhibited works span more than three centuries and bring to the fore Malta’s artistic developments. Starting off with a glimpse into 17th-century Malta through the brushstrokes of Preti, who influenced local artists such as Giuseppe d’Arena and Stefano Erardi, the visitor is then given a taste of what life was like for the upper echelons of 18th century Maltese society – by this time more assimilated with their European counterparts and their sophisticated tastes, fashion and elegant interiors, through Favray’s collection. Colonial Malta follows, with artworks by Calì taking centre stage.

Photo: Heritage Malta

Two of the new galleries were designed in such a way as to provide a glimpse of interiors of noble households in their respective time periods. Amongst the items displayed is a very late 18th century square piano, unique to the MUŻA collection, which back in the day would have been the source of entertainment for families and their guests in a high- and upper middle-class home.

To further enrich the visitor’s experience during the festive season, a series of paintings from the museum’s collection is being brought to life in ‘Step into MUŻA’ – an innovative digital exhibition allowing visitors to virtually step inside the museum and discover a variety of paintings from the MUŻA collection. These works of art spring to life through digital animation and soundscapes allowing visitors to view these paintings in a way they’ve never been seen before.

The large-format projections will be turning MUŻA’s courtyard into one large immersive art canvas. Artworks from the MUŻA collection celebrating the spirit of this festive season will also be projected. Produced by Heritage Malta’s digitisation unit, this digital exhibition can be enjoyed in the museum’s courtyard from 5:30pm till late between 11th December 2020 and 10th January 2021.

This exhibition will continue to be displayed after the museum’s opening hours and will be open to the general public free of charge.

On the 11th, 12th and 13th of December, the museum will be extending its opening hours till 9pm. A special rate of only 2 euro will apply for tickets issued during these extended hours.

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