Martial Arts by Chris Grech

British military artists, artifacts and anecdotes in nineteenth century Malta

About the series:

Malta enjoyed a close relationship with Britain throughout the nineteenth century. This was a period when Britain’s presence in the Mediterranean was dominant and many British service personnel were station in or travelled through Malta. Many of these soldiers and sailors were artistically inclined. This series of lectures highlights many of the artistic endeavours which resulted from these naval and military personnel’s associations with Malta.


Christopher Grech is a dual national enjoying both Maltese and British citizenship. Born in Malta in 1960 he was subsequently educated in the UK. There he qualified as an architect and work for some of the leading British architectural practices. In 2001 Chris transitioned to an academic career in the United States. He has taught at the University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is currently a tenured Associate Professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. Chris’ interests reflect his multicultural background; his extracurricular research is centred around the British period of Malta’s historical past.

Understanding Modern Art by Eve Cocks

What is Modern Art?’

‘How is Modern art to be defined?’

Over one hundred years have passed since the early beginnings of Modern Art and still, till today, many of us feel that Modern art is more difficult to understand than the art of the previous centuries, but why?

The non-representational approaches; the non-traditional techniques and the theoretical nature that tend to characterise a big chunk of Modern Art plays an important role in this dilemma.

Modern art, like any other art of the past, is not a rational and ordered business, and in order to try and make a sense out of it all, one has to, first and foremost, familiarise him/herself  with the environment in which Modern Art had taken shape.

This 12 week course is specifically designed for anyone interested in learning how to approach and appreciate Modern Art. The course will outline and discuss the major political, social, economical and cultural factors that shaped the modern artistic production in central Europe and America during the mid/late 19th and 20th Centuries. Specific attention will also be given to the main art practical developments, movements and theoretical debates of the period including the “problem of the autonomy of art” and the “radical redefinition of what can constitute a work of art”.

*The course will be presented in a chronological framework so that applicants will gain a strong sense of the overall development, and historical context, of Modern art.

*Benefit from a 20% off discount when booking together with a friend (Terms & Conditions apply)


Eve Cocks holds a BA (Hons.) Degree in Art History from the University of Malta as well as a Master of Letters in Art, Politics, Transgression and 20th C. Avant-Gardes from the University of Glasgow. Eve wrote her MLitt. thesis on the post-WWII collages of the Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, and conducted her thesis research in some of Scotland’s major art institutions including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Hunterian Art Gallery. Over the years Eve has worked in both local and international museums/galleries including Koppe Astnercontemporary art gallery, which in 2014, gave her the privilege to participate in a world-renowned biennial festival of contemporary artGlasgow International. Eve is currently working as a freelance art history lecturer and art blogger.

Costume, Jewellery & Objets d’Art

This unique course will be led by Caroline Tonna and Francesca Balzan with the contribution of Marquis Nicholas de Piro.  The topics will cover fashion in paintings and early photography, jewellery from the Baroque period to the 19th century and on site lectures at Palazzo Falson and Casa Rocca Piccola.

Handling And Care of Works of Art

This course offers a practical guide to the ways in which different art objects should be handled and cared for, whether they are on display, in transit, or in storage; and it also explains some of the fundamental principles of conservation. Works of art on paper and books, easel and panel paintings, wooden artefacts and furniture, metals and ceramics will all be subjects covered throughout the course.

The lectures given will provide an understanding of:

  • composite materials of the artefact (their properties and special requirements)
  • the deterioration processes of the artefact 
  • agents of deterioration (Light, Humidity, Temperature, Pollution, Insects, etc)
  • the basic preventive conservation methods and conservation treatments
  • practical handling procedures

The Neoclassical Revival in Malta

By Hilary Spiteri

Late 18th and early 19th Century academical drawings, paintings and sculptures, produced in Malta and abroad, following the Neoclassical stylistic trends prevailing across Europe. The series of lectures will provide an insight on the history of the rise and decline of the Malta School of Design during the British administration and discusses it in a meaningful art historical context. The prevailing artistic currents (Neoclassicism, Purism and Pre-Raphaelistes) will be discussed and availed to broaden and adjust our perspective of the artistic scenario of early British Malta and to show how, in spite of the decline in official patronage, the University, succeeded in providing Malta with a respectable art academy. This was not an anticlimax but a new beginning and a benchmark development in Maltese Art History.

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The Nature of Collecting

By Sandro Sciberras

The aim of this course is to provide a better understanding and appreciation of collecting, a primordial instinct of our ancestors and how this idea developed and mutated throughout the ages. The varied nature of collecting will be analysed from a historical, psychological and social point of view, with special attention being given, though not exclusively, to various collections and their display in Malta throughout the years. The course shall also delve briefly on museums and the future of collecting in modern society. Closing the course will be an open presentation/discussion with the attendees about their experiences in this field and where possible, share information about their own personal collections too.

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Looking at Paintings: Tips on reading the language of painters

By Martina Caruana

After introducing the elements and principles of art, this course will analyse a selection of landmark paintings produced during significant periods in the history of Western art. Each work will be discussed in the context within which it was produced, and an analysis of its visual presentation will support the development of skills in looking at paintings from ancient to contemporary times.

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Partying With Art

By Bernardine Scicluna

Faces, trees, people, strange shapes, food, children, areas of land, jars, clear or stormy skies, moods, staring eyes, bread, poultry, dead fish, expressive hands, life and death, kitchen utensils, haughty looks – these and more will be for all to see in an 8-lecture series from 5th March to 11th June 2014. The lecturer, Bernadine Scicluna, will provide a foretaste of a number of subjects captured mainly in paintings. Various aspects on portraiture, still life and landscape will be touched upon. Children, food, mortality and illusion will also feature in these talks.

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