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March Lecture : Museum or Mausoleum? The secularisation of sacred space and the loss of meaning

26 March 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


What happens to the inherent iconological meaning of artefacts, sculptures and paintings within sacred spaces, once removed from their original location? What happens to their ability to transmit their message, their view, to the observer? Is not the continuation of a religious and spiritual legacy a value in itself?

To conserve an experience or, paradoxically, a “possibility of experience”, is not quite like merely conserving an oil or wall painting, or the architectural fabric of the space. There are other values to be considered, which go beyond the intrinsic historical, cultural and aesthetic value of the work itself. These “objective traditional values”, which are so often tied with the conservation priority given to the artwork are, in this case, only but a starting point leading to the most profound and subjective value of the artwork, which is an essentially intangible value. Works of art which have been commissioned to grace specific sites respond precisely to that experiential value; they seek to augment it, to make it more accessible, to transform a place into a “living” and “mystagogical” space which directly encounters and engages the present-day viewer.

Giulia Privitelli holds an M.A. in History of Art (University of Malta), and is presently Assistant Editor at Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. She is also a freelance tourist guide and writer, regularly contributing culture-related articles to various local newspapers, magazines and blogs.

Venue: Royal Yacht Club

Guest and Partners Welcome


26 March 2020
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Member Services Coordinator