Barry Wilkinson: St. John's Cathedral - Malta
During the time when the Knights of the Order of St. John ruled Malta -- from 1530 until 1798, the country experienced a golden age of grand architecture. From this period, Malta gained many buildings that are true works of human genius. The knights built hospitals, palaces and churches both in the capital city of Valletta and in the old city of Mdina. And, of all the memorable structures constructed, among the finest in Malta is the Co-Cathedral of St. John. Although the stark simplicity of the exterior of this church reveals the severe, military character of the Order of St. John, the cathedral's interior highlights a different aspect of the knights' characters. Inside, the cathedral is a masterpiece of magnificent baroque design which mirrors the knights' love of the arts. The Perellos Monument, which is depicted in this artwork, gives an idea of the rich beauty of the cathedral's interior. Pope Pius VII raised this church to the status of a cathedral in 1816. St. John's is called a "co-cathedral" because it shares the distinction with an earlier cathedral in Mdina. Like the great Co-Cathedral of St. John, the massive defensive walls of Fort St. Angelo are indeed works of human genious. This fortress overlooks the Grand Harbor and served as a stronghold for the Knights of the Order of St. John during their more than 250 yeats of rule on the islands.
This painting originally appeared on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover of the Achievements of Human Genius Series from the 1983 Europa Collection.
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