Discover the world of colour through the eyes of a Portuguese knight in 18th century Malta


Have you ever found yourself wondering about the nature of colour – how colour actually ever came to be, and what makes up each different colour?

If your answer is in the affirmative, you share this curiosity with a Portuguese knight named Fra’ Diogo de Carvalho e Sampaio, who was inspired to study such questions while based in Malta in the late 18th century, and whose published treatise you can now see for yourself in an exclusive Heritage Malta masterclass.

Photos courtesy of HMML’s Malta Study Center

“This treatise is nothing else than a clear exposition of my ideas about colours, according to the order they appear to me.” This is how Fra’ Diogo opens his treatise ‘Tratado das Cores’, printed in Malta in 1787. This was one of the few scientific works printed in Malta in the 18th century.

Fra’ Diogo arrived in Malta in 1785 and started studying colour out of pure curiosity. Later he wrote more books about colour while in Spain, which did not pass unnoticed among European theorists.

Photos courtesy of HMML’s Malta Study Center

Join Cláudia Garradas at MUŻA’s Conference Hall on the 29th of September from 18.30 till 19.30 hrs and get a closer look at this printed work, which includes exceptional woodcuts hand-coloured by the author himself.

Following the presentation, attendees will also be able to get a more in-depth explanation of the work by Ms Garradas, as she flips through the historic document in a live demonstration, given in small groups of six.

Photos courtesy of HMML’s Malta Study Center


Admission to this event is free of charge, however reservation is required at any Heritage Malta museums or site, or by sending an email mentioning this event along with your details to or by calling 22954300.