Fresco of the Nativity of Mary by Manuel Farrugia for the Senglease Basilica

The work of the Maltese artist, Manuel Farrugia, is something we have featured here before, beginning with his Ecstasy of St. Teresa and more recently The Glory of St. Dominic.  Today we are pleased to be able to present another project which he has worked on for the Basilica of the Nativity of Mary in Senglea, Malta.

The basilica's story is one of many churches insofar as a gradual period of decoration has been taking place over the years -- a result of substantial damage to the basilica during the Second World War. Previous commissions had tackled the dome and the apse; these were executed by the painter Frank Portelli. 

Frank Portelli's apse art

This still left the choir portion of the ceiling unadorned and for this the basilica turned to Manual Farrugia. 

The image above shows the basilica prior to Farrugia's project. One will see the empty white space that sits above the choir (found behind the high altar and its ciborium. It is this space which Farrugia was tasked to decorate.

Farrugia painted the choir ceiling with a depiction of the Nativity of Mary -- the namesake of the basilica.

Sitting topmost are three figures which depict the Holy Trinity -- some our readers will no doubt recognize this manner of depicting the three persons of the Holy Trinity as three identical figures, here utilizing the symbols of the sceptre, Cross and fire to denote which person of the Trinity each figure represents.

To either side of the Trinity are adoring choirs of angels. 

The Trinity and the adoring angels all sit in reference to the figure of Ss. Anne and Joachim with the child Mary. 

St. Anne with the child Mary.

Two of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel and Isaiah, also feature prominently within the design.

Beneath each prophet are a pair of cherubs:

As an interesting aside, Farrugia has included references to the COVID-19 pandemic within his work, picking up on a well established tradition amongst artists of including contemporary references within their works. 

For more information on Manuel Farrugia's work, please visit his website or his social media page. .

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