The altar painting of St Gregory at the Old Parish Church of St Catherine (k/a San Girgor), had undergone a year’s long restoration project.
The painting of Pope St Gregory the Great dateable to circa 1615 and is known to have been presented as a gift by the Knight of Malta Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza (1555-1620) whose coat-of-arms is prominently displayed at the lower end of the painting. Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza was the son of the Marquiz of Mondejar Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador to the court of Pope Pius V (1560-1562), Spanish Viceroy to the Kingdom of Valencia (1572-1575) and later in Naples (1575-1579). In 1615, Mendoza held the post of Grand Chancellor of the Order.
The painting was unfortunately, in a poor state of preservation and had undergone unprofessional restoration in recent past. This explains the extensive time taken to carry out this restoration job which unveiled the original artistic qualities of this painting which now can be appreciated on the altar of the saint.
This painting was restored by the professional restorer Anthony Spagnol and has been studied by Dr Sandro Debono. The project was lead by Wirt iż-Żejtun and has been co-funded by the Gal Xlokk Foundation through the LEADER Project. A detailed presentation on the restoration work and on the historical and artistic research carried out will be held as soon as the current COVID-19 restrictions are released.