Chapel of the langue of Aragon

The chapel of the langue of Aragon

Is particularly rich in works of art by Mattia Preti. The chapel of the langue of Aragon is a gallery of Mattia’s work of art.

The chapel of the langue of Aragon is dedicated to St.George and the alter piece depicts ‘St George killing the dragon’. The altarpiece was done by Mattia Preti  c.1658, in Naples before the artist’s first visit to Malta. Most probably this painting was commissioned by Grand Master Martin de Redin (1657-1660). Hanging above the archway, which leads to the Chapel of the langue of Auvergne, one finds ‘St Francis Xavier’painting,  which was ordered by the same Grand Master in 1659, whilst facing it, above the archway which leads to the annexe, one finds a painting depicting ‘St Firminius’, both of them executed by Mattia Preti , like the two lunettes which depicts two episodes from the life of St Lawrence,  ‘St Lawrence meeting Pope sixtus II on his way to Martyrdom’ and ‘The Martyrdom of St Lawrence’.

The altar and the entire facade of the chapel of the langue of Aragon, was re-decorated during the reign of Grand Master Ramon Despuig (1736-1741) whose effigy in relief is found at the base of the left column. Apart from the richly gilded carved walls, one could not miss the four mausolea of Spanish Grand Masters. The monuments of Grand Master De Redin and that of Grand Master Rafel Cottoner, facing each other, don’t follow the same explosion of Baroque creativity which is found in the other two monuments in the same chapel, dedicated to Grand Master Nicola Cottoner and Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful.

The mausoleum of Grand Master Nicola Cottoner is thought to be the work of Giovanni Battista Foggini. The artist depicts the Grand Master in a gilded bust, surrounded with Trophies of Triumph carved in carrara white marble and two slaves carrying the weight of the monument.

The mausoleum of Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful, carved by Mazzuoli, the same sculptor that carved the baptism of Christ behind the main altar, is another fine example of baroque expression. Carved in carrara white marble, various symbols convey a message of charity, Justice and the crescent moon which represents the ottoman empire which is equaled with the symbol of medusa, symbol of evil.

Various relics were bestowed during time of the Order which were brought to Malta by the Knights and are found inside the chapel of the langue of Aragon. Amongst them are found the arm of St George a relic of the true cross, the entire body of St Fidele martyr and the arm of St Vincent Ferrari.

The chapel of the langue of Aragon can be visited at St John’s co-cathedral in Valletta. For opening times please click on St John’s co-cathedral.

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