Heritage Malta has just been awarded a grant of €87,000 from the Getty Foundation to develop an educational digital project about MUŻA’s collection of Old Master drawings. This grant forms part of ‘The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century’, an initiative of the Getty Foundation launched in 2018.
Since specialisation in the study of Old Master drawings is lacking in Malta, this project will act as an important stepping stone to bring much needed expertise in the field dedicated to works on paper.
MUŻA will be creating a new section on its website dedicated to its collection of Old Master drawings and carrying out related outreach. The museum has a little-known collection of 150 Old Master drawings, dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries, featuring important names such as Pietro Perugino, Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgio Vasari, Federico Zuccaro, Giovanni Baglione, Guercino, Mattia Preti, François Boucher, Antoine Favray and Adrien Manglard.
The online digital project will include didactic content catering for different audiences, namely the general public, children, students and academics, and will comprise materials and techniques, uses, schools and periods, provenance, and subject matter of Old Master drawings. The project will also include the appointment of a Research Assistant who, together with MUŻA’ lead curators, will gain experience in the field and collaborate with international experts. Online and in-person outreach, intended to introduce the collection to a wider local and international audience while using the online platform, also forms part of the project.
MUŻA will be collaborating with the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) at St John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, who digitised the museum’s collection of Old Master drawings and prints, maps, printed and manuscript documents, and albums in 2017 and 2018. HMML’s photographs will be used for the online project. The online microsite together with other digital images and videos will be developed by Heritage Malta’s Digitisation Department.
This is the first fully comprehensive initiative in Malta dedicated to the study of the National Collection’s Old Master drawings at MUŻA. Besides increasing the much-needed exposure of this particular collection as a whole, the ‘Getty Paper Project’ will no doubt create and strengthen opportunities of collaboration with international institutions and experts to learn more about these Old Master drawings in order to create greater awareness and appreciation among different audiences. This ties in exactly with Heritage Malta’s sacrosanct mission to make our collections accessible to all, local and international.
This digital project is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation through The Paper Project initiative. Photo caption: Adrien Manglard, The Shipwreck, c. 1753, red chalk on white paper. Photograph courtesy of the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, MUŻA and Heritage Malta.