The opening verse of the oldest Marian antiphon, Sub tuum præsidium (Under your protection), has inspired the Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria to set up an exhibition dedicated to Mary, Mother of God.

Madonna and Child with St John, Salvatore Calleja, St Augustine’s Friary, Victoria, 1810, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe AttardMadonna and Child with St John, Salvatore Calleja, St Augustine’s Friary, Victoria, 1810, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe Attard

Set up at Il-Ħaġar, Heart of Gozo Museum in Victoria, the exhibition features significant paintings and artefacts ranging from Old Master to contemporary works, some of which have never been on public display.

It is divided into four theological themes: incarnation, public ministry, paschal event and mystical body.

Exhibition curator Charles Cassar said: “Each of the exhibits provides a didactic narrative of the outstanding characteristics of Mary as the Mother of God. Mary simply makes God both visible and accessible.

“With Mary, the divine takes a human form, the divine becomes incarnate, the sacred becomes touchable.”

Visitors may admire paintings and sculptures loaned from different sources, including St George’s Basilica and other churches and convents. These include works by Ġanni Vella, Lazzaro Pisani, Giuseppe Calì, Emanuel Vincenti Cremona, Robert Caruana Dingli, Emvin Cremona, Ġużeppi Briffa, Willie Apap, Mario Caffaro-Rore, George Fenech, Pawlu Camilleri Cauchi, John Grima, Austin Camilleri, George Scicluna, Aaron Formosa and Manuel Farrugia.

Nativity, Willie Apap (1918-1970), private collection, 1962, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe AttardNativity, Willie Apap (1918-1970), private collection, 1962, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe Attard

Each item is accompanied by a description providing basic information about the painter/sculptor, date and provenance as well as the appropriate scriptural/theological setting. 

The Gozo Diocese is holding a Marian Year to mark the 400th anniversary of the Madonna Ta’ Pinu painting by Bartolomeo Amadeo Perugino.

The miraculous image was exhibited in all 15 parishes in Gozo, with the aim of renewing the devotion to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu. The Marian Year will come to an end on the eve of the feast of the Assumption on August 15.

Speaking during the official opening of the exhibition, Gozo Bishop Mario Grech expressed his wish that “people visit the exhibition to experience an authentic veneration of Mary”.

The exhibition runs until February 15. The museum, in St George’s Square, Victoria, opens daily from 9am to 5pm.

Entrance is free.

From left: Madonna of Trapani, Patron of the Mediterranean, a marble sculpture at the Capuchin Friary, Victoria, the Annunciation, Emvin Cremona (1919-1987), Żebbuġ parish church, 1945, oil on panel and Visione (The Virgin in Ecstasy), Ettore Cercone (1850-1896), private collection, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe AttardFrom left: Madonna of Trapani, Patron of the Mediterranean, a marble sculpture at the Capuchin Friary, Victoria, the Annunciation, Emvin Cremona (1919-1987), Żebbuġ parish church, 1945, oil on panel and Visione (The Virgin in Ecstasy), Ettore Cercone (1850-1896), private collection, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe Attard

Transportation of Our Lady, Manuel Farrugia (1989- ), private collection, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe AttardTransportation of Our Lady, Manuel Farrugia (1989- ), private collection, oil on canvas. Photo: Joe Attard

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