Michael Pace Ross, Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta, thanked EMCS Ltd for securing the necessary EU Funds and Re-Coop for their restoration work. This is the fourteenth project being inaugurated by the Foundation for the Cultural Heritage of the Archdiocese of Malta.

Two large choir lateral paintings have been restored, specifically the painting of the Annunciation of the Virgin and the painting of the Presentation of the Virgin at the Senglea Parish Church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin. The paintings were commissioned between 1723 and 1728, to the young Francesco Zahra, who resided in Senglea, following the rebuilding of the church choir.

The paintings had undergone some restoration in the 1950s when the church was rebuilt after the extensive damage suffered during World War II.  At the time, both paintings had undergone a lining intervention, causing the seams in the canvas support to damage and deformations to the surface of the painting. Deterioration of both paintings may also be attributed to over-painting carried out on top of the varnish coating during later interventions.

Total cost of the intervention on both paintings amounted to approximately €28,000 of which €23,000 were covered by EU Funds.

The restoration and conservation work on the two paintings by Zahra were inaugurated at the Senglea Parish Church by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi, and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. The Archdiocese of Malta’s Administrative Secretary Michael Pace Ross and Arch-priest Canon Robin Camilleri were also present.