St. John's Co-Cathedral
There was one thing I knew about Malta when I saw that it was one of the ports we were going to visit on this cruise - St. John's Co-Cathedral. And only because one of our vendor's insisted I go visit it after her friend returned from Malta and had enjoyed the cathedral immensely. Here is an image of the facade from wikipedia.
The facade is so simple. Online it has been described as severe. But the interiors would knock the socks off anyone. It's been described as "gem of Baroque art and architecture". No flash photography is allowed - I am begging your patience with these images. My little point and shoot can only handle so much :D
From my journal: The fee to enter the cathedral was 6 euros, but it was worth it. We were given audio equipment to listen/guide us on our tour. The interiors were the exact opposite of the exterior. While the exterior was simple and uninteresting, the interior was amazingly ornate, Baroque at its finest. I can’t begin to enjoy all the gold carvings and wonderful marble tiles that serve as tombstones. The altar, which was cordoned off, was impressively ornate as well.
From my journal: The Oratory is where the painting of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist was displayed. No photography is allowed inside that room. Other paintings are also displayed on the side wall. But the beheading was the centerpiece of this room. It was an absolutely impressive painting, it seems to come to life. Also in the cathedral is a museum displaying Flemish tapestries, all gorgeously preserved and intricate in detail, the vestment room is where special vestments are displayed.
From wikipedia: The painting depicting The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608) by Caravaggio (1571-1610) is the most famous work in the church. Considered one of Caravaggio's masterpieces and the only painting signed by the painter, the canvas is displayed in the Oratory for which it was painted. Restored in the late 1990's in Florence, this painting is one of Caravaggio's most impressive uses of the chiaroscuro style for which he is most famous with a circle of light illuminating the scene of St John's beheading at the request of Salome. The oratory also houses Caravaggio's St Jerome III (1607–1608).
From wikipedia: Another impressive feature of the church is the collection of marble tombstones in the nave in which were buried important knights. The more important knights were placed closer to the front of the church. These tombstones, richly decorated with in-laid marble and with the coats of arms of the knight buried below as well as images relevant to that knight, often telling a story of triumph in battle, form a rich visual planopy in the church. Another important work of art is the Mazzuoli Group sculpture which lies behind the main altar.
I've been pretty busy with "offline" life lately, sorry I haven't been dedicated in my posting and my visits to your blogs.