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440 postmodern artist par excellence. His representations concern such important themes, regarding the ‘postmodern condition’, as the death of the grand narratives and also reveal his engagement with the issue of canon and canonicity. These interrelated themes are also well developed throughout a number of chapters in this volume. The volume is replete with wonderful colour plates. It is a pity that no index is provided. The reader is however also provided with a timeline, by Katya Borg, indicating major events in the history of the Maltese islands from the 50s onward and corresponding landmarks in the development of Maltese art. This too is a significant contribution, albeit with a few minor slip ups. The reader would be amused to learn of the existence of a Fine Arts Museum in 1968 housing an exhibition by the recently deceased Anton Agius (Malta had a fine arts collection then but not a fine arts museum which came into being in 1974) and Dom Mintoff becoming President (sic.) of Malta in 1955. But perhaps this is just carping on my part. This is a truly wonderful and refreshing volume that documents work that atteststothevibrancyofcontemporaryart in Malta. Indeed, its trans-disciplinary nature allows it to do more than this. It provides a valid Maltese contribution to the development of that area known as ‘cultural studies’, an area that combines a variety of disciplines and approaches to analyse cultural phenomena in various societies, Mediterranean societies included. Peter Mayo University of Malta Sciberras, Keith 2006. Melchiorre Cafà Maltese Genius of the Roman Baroque. Malta: Midsea Books, 293 pp. ISBN 99932-7-097-0. The Order of St John’s Ambassador in Rome is on record as having asserted, around 1665–1666, that the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini was heard singling out the young Maltese, Melchorre Cafà, as the only sculptor he feared in Rome. Bernini felt that the Birgu born sculptor (Birgu is a maritime city in Malta which, prior to the building of Valletta served as the seat of the Military Order) could have surpassed him in his achievements. The Order had in vain been trying to secure the services of Bernini (who was in France at the time) to carry out the sculptural group of the ‘Baptism of Christ’ for the Order’s Conventual Church of St John’s in Valletta. This accolade by Bernini speaks volumes for the artistic standing of the 17th century Maltese Baroque sculptor. Melchiorre Cafà, brother of Malta’s leading 17th century architect, Lorenzo, has certainly placed Maltese art on the international map. His works can be admired in such museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (the autographedcastofPopeAlexanderV11), the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg, the Palazzo Venezia Museum and the Museo di Roma in Rome, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University (‘Personification of Silence’ in a collection of bozzetti by Bernini and his contemporaries ), the Fitzwilliam MuseumCambridge University and the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, to mention just a few. In addition he was commissioned to carry out important works for such churches as St Agostino, Santa Maria in Campitelli, Sant’ Agnese in Piazza Navona and St. (13) Last pages 24.10.17, 11:07 440 441 Caterina a Magnanapoli, Rome, the Duomo of Siena and the Church of San Domingo, Lima. Prominence is accorded to him in published concise histories of European sculpture. All this testifies to his standing as an important exponent of the Roman Baroque. It is fitting therefore that a volume, comprising well researched chapters on various aspects of his work, has been produced . The volume, edited by Keith Sciberras, History of Art academic at the UniversityofMalta,isimpressiveinterms of the range of rigorous scholarly contributions in English and Italian (each accompaniedby detailedannotations),the quality of illustrations provided and the details concerning Cafà’s life, commissions and oeuvre. Furthermore the volume is concluded with a list, in alphabetical order, of practically all known works by or attributed to Cafa‘. These are classified as autographed works, casts, casts after Cafà and probable or improbable attributions . Each entry is accompanied by a black and white illustration of the work in question. Some of Cafà’s works betray the influence of Gianlorenzo Bernini, the major exponent of...


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