This Friday 24th April, the History of Art Department is organising a public talk titled “The Premier and Strada Stretta: Maltese modern art and the Benjamin-Baudelairean idea of urban consciousness” which will be held at the Valletta Campus’ Art Studio at 6.30pm. The talk, which is part of the modern and contemporary art lecture series, will be given by Nikki Petroni, a Ph.D student who is studying Maltese modern and contemporary art under Dr. Giuseppe Bonaci at the University of Malta, History of Art Department.


An abstract for “The Premier and Strada Strette” can be found below:

Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin’s writings analysed and deconstructed the condition and establishment of modernity in the 19th and 20th century respectively and which provided an understanding for the radical cultural developments of the time. Through their concepts, this paper aims to study the work by Maltese modern artists in relation to the urbanization of Valletta; the growth of new social spaces and places of entertainment which gave birth to new visual and intellectual experiences.

The focus will be on the works of Edward Caruana Dingli, Carmelo Mangion, Esprit Barthet and Antoine Camilleri and other artists whose styles and subjects developed in direct relation to Valletta’s burgeoning urbanization. This gave rise to a dialectics of imagery; the energy of nightlife embodied in the paintings by Camilleri which provoked the nostalgia for the simplicity of rural peasantry as typified by Caruana Dingli’s paintings. Furthermore, Mangion and Barthet conceived their own original visualizations of the urbanised landscape; a perception which assisted in the construction of a new representational language.