Birth: Feb. 24, 1613
Death: Jan. 3, 1699
Born in Calabria in southern Italy, Preti is believed to have been the apprentice of a Neapolitan follower of Caravaggio named Battista Caracciolo. He worked in Rome with his brother Gregorio who was also a painter, as well as working in Venice and Naples painting frescoes. He was in charge of the construction of the nave at San Pietro a Majella in Naples and painted large frescoes on seven gates that led into the city of Naples. After being accepted into the Order of St. John (also called the Knights of Malta), a chivalric order that still exists today, Preti was called The Calabrian Cavalier. Around 1660, Preti visited the Order’s headquarters in Malta and stayed to enhance the interior spaces of St John’s. Despite being strongly associated with Naples, Preti lived some 30 years in Malta and his work in dispersed throughout the area in both small churches and in private collections.
Some of his notable works include: The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew (1650), The Wedding at Cana (1655), and The Release of St Peter from Prison pictured below and used to create the header image.
To read more about Mattia Preti or to see more of his work, visit:
Visit Malta and the site’s Culture Guide