If you haven’t hot-footed it to the capital to see ‘Masterpieces at MUŻA,’ Heritage Malta’s prestigious, must-see exhibition yet, it’s your last chance to do so.
Masterpieces at MUŻA, Heritage Malta’s must-see exhibition, is on throughout October. And if you’ve not been yet, time is running out to experience the 13 outstanding paintings by world-renowned masters, ranging from the late 15th- to the mid-18th centuries.
We’ve told you about the Swan and the Fawn, and now it’s time for The Tempest by Claude-Joseph Vernet – one of the leading French landscape painters of the 18th century – which is the sole painting in Destructive Nature, the final section within Masterpieces at MUŻA.
Dwarfed by the raging elements, the outstretched arm of a tiny orange-clad figure in the centre of the painting directs our gaze. Pivoted at the centre of the maelstrom of wind, waves, and mayhem, the figure points to the promise of fairer weather on the horizon. From the colour of the sea to the side-tilted ship, we are able to note that the depicted scene is an aftermath of a heavy and delirious tempest, whilst anxious onlookers discover the corollary of the tempest’s after-effects.
Harmonious landscape paintings took a leap in the 17th century, when artists attached metaphorical meanings to natural elements. Painted in 1751, when Vernet returned to France after 20 years in Italy, furthering his reputation as an artist of seascapes, The Tempest illustrates the consummate artist’s ability to go from calm, lulling atmospheres to destruction, devastation and disruption.
Mostly known for his Mediterranean harbour scenes, Vernet’s use of overhead lighting, diminutive but central figures, and dynamic, agitated movement highlights the sheer power and force of nature in comparison to humankind. Vernet’s talent lies in expressing scenes of refined beauty and grace, even in the bleakest of paintings. Blue skies peep through the tumultuous clouds, providing viewers with hope for calmer days in this emotional tour-de-force.
And once you’re there, why not make a day of it and sample the delicious offerings on the menu of the MUŻA Café and Restaurant?
Situated in the elegant and refined Baroque courtyard of the Auberge d’Italie, MUŻA Restaurant is a welcome pitstop to digest and reflect on the themes featured in these paintings from an international private collection.
The talented MUŻA restaurant chefs have taken their cues from the artwork you have just perused, much of it which has been out of public sight for decades, and created signature dishes inspired by the exhibition.
Admission to the exhibition is free to Heritage Malta members and children and seniors who are Heritage Malta student/senior passport holders. Up to two adults accompanying children or seniors will be admitted for €3 each. All others pay €10. MUŻA opens all week from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Children aged up to 12 years will be admitted free of charge.