It is being recommended that one of the paintings currently on show at Il-Ħaġar Museum in Victoria be restored. According to art specialist Michela Fasce, the 99x73cm oil on canvas – the Holy Family in Saint Joseph’s workshop – is in a bad state, having “suffered” from defective restorations in the past.

Fasce describes the scene as it takes place in an interior with the Virgin Mary engrossed in reading a book with the sewing basket at her feet, while Jesus, a little boy, handing his father measuring tools and St Joseph is intent on smoothing the wooden board he is holding. Fasce also notes various symbolical aspects.

She emphasises the fact that the unusual iconography only became popular after the Counter Reformation.

In the study included in the publication accompanying the current exhibition – Joseph the Silent Witness – Fasce refers to other better-known paintings by Giovanni Barbiani and Mattia Preti, among others.

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