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The painting of St Sebastian by Mattia Preti from Sarria Church in Floriana is currently on display at the Malta International Airport Departures Lounge, where it is also being restored. Details of the project were given by Din L-Art Ħelwa President Simone Mizzi and Italian restorer Dott. Giuseppe Mantella team from ‘Giuseppe Mantella Restauri’ in the presence of Malta Airport Head – PR & Corporate Communications, Reuben Sciberras.

Ms Mizzi gave details about the restoration of the Mattia Preti painting – a project being held to mark the 400th anniversary of the artist’s birth on 24th February 1613, to be celebrated next year. She thanked Malta International Airport plc, not only for sponsoring the restoration, but also for hosting the painting at the Departures Lounge.

Dott. Mantella said that the St Sebastian painting is one of seven Preti paintings at the Sarria Church, which is the only church in Malta designed by Preti himself. He gave a brief outline of the Church, which was rebuilt and embellished by Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner (1663-1680), in thanks to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception for deliverance of the island from the plague of 1675-76. Dott. Mantella added that the restoration process underway is being catalogued and documented so that in the future, restorers and art experts would know what type of intervention was carried out.

Mr Sciberras said that the association between the airport and Din l-Art Ħelwa goes back years with the support Malta Airport has given for the restoration of the medieval chapel of Bir Miftuħ near the airport access road.

“We decided to support this initiative of the restoration of one of the masterpieces by Mattia Preti, in line with our Corporate Social Responsibility activity of supporting culture and Malta’s cultural heritage. Moreover, we decided to host the restoration process itself here at the Departures Lounge, in order to expose this work of art to thousands of passengers who are on the way out of Malta,” he added.

Mr Sciberras concluded by saying that the airport is receiving various positive comments about this initiative as it promotes the invaluable cultural gems on the Maltese Islands, as well as the efforts by Din l-Art Ħelwa and similar NGOs in restoring them and making them available again to the Maltese public and tourists alike.

The Mattia Preti painting of St Sebastian will be on display and undergoing restoration at the Departures Lounge at Malta International Airport till the end of May.

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