Giuseppe Calì’s artistic evolution explored in Heritage Malta masterclass


A masterclass discussing the evolution of Giuseppe Calì’s art will be delivered by Dr Mark Sagona on the 1st of December at MUŻA. The masterclass is being organised by Heritage Malta in collaboration with the University of Malta’s Department of Art and Art History.

Entitled ‘Art Up Close: Giuseppe Calì (1846-1930): Romanticism between verismo and the eclectic’, the masterclass will focus on the character and context of Calì’s works as they moved from Neapolitan verismo, to glimpses of the history paintings of Paul Delaroche (1787-1856), opening up to the sweetness of the works of Pietro Gagliardi (1809-1890) in Malta, morphing concurrently towards a Baroque Revival ethos.

Born in Malta to Italian parents fleeing from Bourbon Naples, Giuseppe Calì came to dominate Maltese Art between 1880 and 1920. A virtuoso by birth, he was hugely gifted with a talent for inventiveness, expressiveness and narrative, and, above all, speed of execution. He unsurprisingly broke with Maltese tradition to study in Naples, where members of his family had enjoyed remarkable fame.

Giuseppe Calì was truly a product of his own Romantic, eclectic times. Naples was an extraordinary influence on the young artist: he was gripped by the works of Giuseppe Mancinelli (1813-75), Filippo Palizzi (1818-99) but most especially by those of the great Domenico Morelli (1823-1901). This was the eclectic recipe which he introduced on his return to Malta, transforming forcefully the local artistic climate.

Following the presentation by Dr Sagona, attendees will also be treated to an exclusive tour to see MUŻA’s Calì pieces and discuss them in their historical and artistic context as well as their narrative within the displays at MUŻA.

The one-hour masterclass will start at 18.30. Admission is free of charge, but reservation is required at any Heritage Malta museum or site, or by sending an email on

All attendees must wear a face mask and respect social distancing measures.