The acronym for the Maltese title, Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti, and a direct reference to the mythological Muses of Classical Antiquity, MUŻA is Malta’s National Community Art Museum where works of art from the 15th to the early 21st century are on display. Through its varied collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, silver pieces, works on paper and objets d’art, MUŻA’s main focus is to show artistic developments in Malta impacted by its Mediterranean context as well as the cultural influences resulting from the governance of the Order of St John (1530-1798), the British Empire (1800-1964), the post-Independence period (1964-) and the overall impact of the Church.
MUŻA also means ‘mood’ and ‘inspiration’ in the Maltese vernacular language. All works of art on display at MUŻA (housed at the former Auberge d’Italie in Valletta), have been inspired by and founded on four main narratives: Mediterranean, Europe, Empire and The Artist.
The Artist Galleries, at ground floor, focus on the achievements and struggles of Maltese and foreign artists who flourished during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Painted and sculpted portraits, bronze, plaster and terracotta sculptures and abstract pieces as well as works that reveal a break from the norm, characterize this visual journey. The range of styles illustrate the evolution of the Maltese artistic scene, and its response to events and circumstances such as World War II, Colonial Politics, notions of religious identity and the fight for Independence.
The first-floor Mediterranean Galleries consist of many religious and secular paintings, ecclesiastical silverware, furniture pieces, polychrome, marble, plaster and ivory sculpture. Serving religious purposes, created to express abstract ideas by means of symbols and personifications, as well as to meet certain functions while shaped by the various criteria of beauty, these works of art represent the many currents of influence that reached Malta via the Mediterranean Sea, which connects the island to Europe and North Africa.
On the same floor, a number of halls, representing Europe, display 16th- to 18th-century art when the Order of St John governed Malta. An influx of artists from Continental Europe introduced new styles that eventually helped to give rise to Malta’s European identity. Baroque religious paintings, portraits, and views of Valletta feature prominently.
The intermediate floor is taken up by the Empire story that visually narrates Malta’s role within the world system of the British Empire, showing urban and rural views, human figure studies, scenes of Constantinople and lithographic works that showcase artistic developments in Colonial Malta in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
A Maltese Artist in Rome
Main Staircase to the First and Second Floors
A Noble Space Gallery | Europe
In Search of the Truth Gallery | Empire
Signs and Tales Gallery | Mediterranean
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Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the most common questions
All interested applicants are to submit their proposal via an open call for proposals. Follow MUŻA’s social media posts for further information.
For access requests please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes. One may receive high-res images of artworks by emailing email@example.com detailing the intention for the use of the images.
A visit roughly takes around 1hr 15min.
Yes they are. Further details may be obtained by email firstname.lastname@example.org