One of a series of views of the interior of Saint John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta.
St. Johns Co-Cathedral was built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578, having been commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the conventual church of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John, known as the Knights of Malta. The Church was designed by the Maltese military architect Glormu Cassar (Girolamo Cassar) who designed several of the more prominent buildings in Valletta. The church is considered to be one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe and one of the world's great cathedrals.
The interior, in sharp contrast with the façade, is extremely ornate and decorated in the height of the Baroque period. The interior was largely decorated by Mattia Preti, the Calabrian artist and Knight. Preti designed the intricate carved stone walls and painted the vaulted ceiling and side altars with scenes from the life of St John. Interestingly, the figures painted into the ceiling next to each column initially appear to the viewer as three-dimensional statues, but on closer inspection we see that the artist cleverly created an illusion of three-dimensionality by his use of shadows and placement. Also noteworthy is the fact that the carving was all undertaken in-place (in-situ) rather than being carved independently and then attached to the walls (stucco). The Maltese limestone from which the Cathedral is built lends itself particularly well to such intricate carving. The whole marble floor is an entire series of tombs, housing about 375 Knights and officers of the order. There is also a crypt containing the tombs of Grandmasters like Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Claude de la Sengle, Jean Parisot de Valette, and Alof de Wignacourt.
In 1666, a project for the main altar by Malta's greatest sculptor, Melchiorre Cafà, was approved and begun. Cafà intended a large sculpture group in bronze depicting the Baptism of Christ. Following Cafà's tragical death in 1667 in a foundry accident while working on this work in Rome, the plans were abandoned. Only in 1703, Giuseppe Mazzuoli, Cafà's only pupil, finished a marble group of the Baptism of Christ which might have been influenced by his master's undocumented designs but certainly is strongly dependent on a small baptism group by Alessandro Algardi.
Critiques | Translate
Noel_Byrne (19939) 2014-07-11 0:35
The sheer grandeur and opulence of this place is almost overwhelming, all the gold and rich colors make this feel more like the palace of a dictator than a place of worship! Ecumenical comments aside though, it is a stunningly beautiful place. Very nice idea to show this from off centre, as it allows the view of the intricate details inside the golden arches. Beautiful place and image, and thanks for the great note.
miumiu (4594) 2014-07-11 1:25
This is a wonderful view of the Saint John's Cathedral.
Unfortunately, l missed to visit it, when l was in Valletta...
The interior is absolutely stunning and you presented it very beautifully.
Thanks for sharing!
Nicou (115038) 2014-07-11 1:53
fantastique compo et vue quel intérieur d'église sueprbe captage et vue quelle décoration tout ce dorée et cette architecture et les personnes dans l'église sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
macjake (51262) 2014-07-11 4:14
its simply amazing how these cathedrals are constructed, and yet they still remain today after hundreds of years.
as you say its very ornate, striking golds at every turn.
fine indoor shot, looks quite rich and elegant.
timecapturer (44231) 2014-07-11 4:34
a glorious interior and captured beautifully. The light and detail here are amazing.
Have a great weekend - B.
carlo62 (26654) 2014-07-11 4:47
finalmente vedo anche l'interno di questa chiesa, è veramente bello e ben fotografato.
Eccellente esposizione, sono ben visibili tutti i dettagli, una meraviglia.
pierrefonds (54510) 2014-07-11 5:30
L'intérieur de l'église est impressionnant. La longueur de l'allée donne de la profondeur à la scène. La prise de vue permet de voir les détails et les couleurs de l'architecture de l'intérieur de la co-cathédrale Saint-Jean. Bonne journée.
Sergiom (53539) 2014-07-11 6:12
Très impressionnante cette église. Il ne manque pas de la couleur dorée dans la décoration, ce qui rend la gestion de la lumière et des reflets très difficile.
delpeoples (52155) 2014-07-11 6:34
Ahh so this is where you've escaped to. What a beautiful place to holiday, definitely on my hitlist and even more so after viewing yours and Matt Maniano's photos of this wonderful city. Beautiful golden walls, I like the off-centre symmetry and the lovely warm light.
Excellent work, thanks for sharing
ChrisJ (94204) 2014-07-11 8:17
Malta looks equally impressive to many Italian Cathedrals and their ornately decorated ceilings and walls. Good sharpness, color and the people add scale and animate the scene. Excellent perspective and sharpness too with realistic looking colour. Tfs!
SnapRJW (28714) 2014-07-11 8:44
Hello Stephen - I wish that I could managed to get an interior shot as well balanced as this is. All the details are there and despite the high ISO there is a minimum of noise detectable. (What do you do to minimise the noise?) An interior that bursts with rich decoration, small wonder this is such a draw card for visitors. The small Maltese Cross plaque is a nice touch!
Have a good weekend
photographer_sg (2540) 2014-07-11 9:44
This is a spectacular view of the church interior with great framing and such exquisite details displayed with pin sharp clarity. The presence of the people including those in the right foreground adds wonderful life to the picture.
Superb shot and thanks for sharing It!
have a nice weekend.
Fis2 (81417) 2014-07-11 12:34
Excellent light and colors.
worldcitizen (6405) 2014-07-11 12:52
This interior is stunning. I've seen wonderful artwork in Baroque churches before, but this one goes beyond just the ceilings - every inch is ornate. I especially like the detail on the arches on each side. The gold color is also very nice. This is a functional place, and a masterpiece of art, at the same time.
ourania (25352) 2014-07-11 13:06
this interior is amazing, the decoration is so intricate and elaborate and the lighting exalts it in a mesmerizing way. You have captured the details and the atmosphere superbly, the sense of depth and the perspectives are irresistible. The setting is so captivating that we almost forget the presence of so many visitors. The colour definition is excellent too. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,
Cricri (100105) 2014-07-12 1:06
Magnifique intérieur, pleine de peinture mural et décorations dorées, excellente présentation, bonne gestion de la lumière et des couleurs
Silvio1953 (114861) 2014-07-12 7:57
Ciao Stephen, great view of fantastic interior, excellent perspective, splendid light and colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
ikeharel (51305) 2014-07-13 6:52
Beautiful golden interior and wide scene inside the Cathedral, Stephen.
Painted ceiling and art elements depicted on walls, combined with visitors filled - made a vivid and vibrant picture.
annjackman (17387) 2014-07-14 10:51
This is a very ornate interior and the fine detail is well shown. The gold really shines and I imagine that there is plenty of intricate detail to enjoy when close up. This is quite a contrast to the simple village churches in West Sussex!
Best wishes, Ann
Gigidusud (13151) 2014-07-16 5:20
Splendid capture of the church interior with nice details and a great light management. I like it!
rogerl (1526) 2014-07-16 6:27
Stephen, this is really an amazing and beautiful interior, which you've captured with great detail. It does look like there was quite a bit of postprocessing; I would imagine that you had to work a bit to deal with lighting issues. I'm curious if you used a tripod, though I assume you did not since it's usually not allowed in churches. In any case, a really striking image. Thanks.
serp2000 (37378) 2014-07-22 9:23
Great! This is very beautiful interior of the Cathedral, the colors and details are superb! Good exposure and clever asymmetric composition!
Thanks for this informative note.
- Copyright: Stephen Nunney (snunney) (78603)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-06-00
- Categories: Architecture, Artwork
- Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Canon 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/25 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-07-11 0:19