Learning about Old Master Drawings through the Malta National Art Collection

An educational digital project about Old Master Drawings using highlights from Malta’s National Art Collection at MUŻA.

What are Old Master Drawings? What can we learn from them about art history and artistic practices? How do we analyse them? How were they used? These are questions that this digital project will be answering through an online platform accessible to all members of the public.

This project, supported by the Getty Foundation’s The Paper Project initiative, will be studying the collection of Old Master Drawings held at MUŻA and developing online educational material for different audiences as part of the MUŻA website. These drawings date between the 15th and 18th centuries and are by European artists from different schools, some known, while others remain anonymous. These include Vittore Carpaccio, Pietro Perugino, Federico Zuccari, Giovanni Baglione, Mattia Preti, and Francois Boucher. The project will involve a thorough study of these drawings, particularly to ascertain attributions, through consultation with international leading experts.

The drawings will illustrate content about the field of study of such artworks, namely the materials and techniques used in making them, the schools and periods they come from, how they came to form part of the National Collection, their subject matter, and how they were used. This content will be presented in different formats – for children, the general public, and students and academics. This digital project will especially serve to educate students, particularly local ones, on the field of Old Master drawings, in which specialisation in Malta is lacking. 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.

The aims of this project are to:

  • Ensure that the lead curators and project team gain expertise in the field of Old Master Drawings;
  • Increase international visibility of the collection through the microsite, launching mid 2024;
  • Create accessibility with different entry points for children, the general public, students and academics;
  • Develop didactic content catered for different audiences for the microsite which tackles materials and techniques, uses, schools and periods, provenance, and the subject matter of Old Master drawings;
  • Carry out research in collaboration with international experts to update attributions and gain knowledge about the drawings;
  • Engage a research assistant to create content for the microsite;
  • Organise online and in-person outreach to introduce the collection to a wider local and international audience using the microsite.

MUŻA will be collaborating with the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) that digitised the museum’s collection of Old Master drawings and prints, maps, printed and manuscript documents and albums in 2017 and 2018 with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The Malta Study Center’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 digital project is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation through The Paper Project initiative.

Photographs courtesy of the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, MUŻA and Heritage Malta

Meet the team

  • Project Lead Curator
    Bernadine Scicluna, Principal Curator at MUŻA
  • Project Lead Curator
    Krystle Farrugia, Curator at MUŻA
  • Project Research Assistant
    Robert Louis Grech
  • Head - Technology and Experience Development Unit
    Anthony Cassar
  • Web and Multimedia Developer at Heritage Malta
    Digitisation Team
  • Digital Assets Executive at Heritage Malta
    Andrew Pace
  • Paper Conservator
    Lisa Camilleri

To contact us about this project send an email to info@muza.org.mt or