The painting of St Gregory the Great which has been decorating the altar dedicated to the same Saint and Pope the last four centuries, in the old parish church of St Catherine in Żejtun, is being restored by Wirt iż-Żejtun.
The restoration work has been entrusted to the professional restorer Anthony Spagnol. During the course of its restoration, the painting is also being studied by the art historian Dr Alexander Debono.
The painting was in a very bad state of preservation, with its canvas severely damaged and suffering from paint cracking and losses. Moreover it has been found that during past interventions, large parts of the painting were over restored or restored in an unprofessional manner. All these interventions had to be reversed after the painting was completely cleaned, in order to discover the original layers of paint. This was successfully done in the past weeks and the canvas has also been relined. A considerable amount of damages in the original canvas have been filled in and ready for retouching.
Once the painting gets back its original glory, and after the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, Wirt iż-Żejtun intends to organise an event in which Mr Spagnol will explain in more detail the restoration interventions which were required. At the same event the Dr Debono will present the findings of his research about this important painitng.
This project is being partly financed by the Gal Xlokk foundation as a project presented under Measure 1 – Restoration of assets of artistic and cultural value. This measure falls under the LEADER Programme (Community Led Local Development) of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 – 2020, which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and falls under the responsibility of Funds and Programmes Division within the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality (MEAE).