Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(Social) Realism: Malta Art

Edward Caruana Dingli (1876-1950)

Edward Caruana Dingli, had what it takes to make him one of the best artists Malta has ever produced. His paintings captured the spirit of a country and its people. In his temperament there was a strain of romanticism, such as many great artists have possessed, a quality that enabled him to see beauty in everyday life. Along with this, went an extreme sophistication in everything that concerned painting or matters of taste. From the rich and powerful, to the poor and free spirited, all that was appealing about early 20th century Malta, is immortalised on his canvases.

Primarily a portrait painter, his sitters included clerics and prelates, royalty and Maltese society figures, wearing their most lavish clothing and jewellery. His folkloristic themes on the other hand, celebrate the spirit of the Maltese countryside, the coast, and village squares. Farmers and peasants on donkey drawn carts, fish vendors at the market, and children playing traditional games in the street. Regardless of the subject, his works are characterised by a prominent personality, verve and charm. His eye for beauty was unfaltering, and his technique replete, his colour rich and brilliant always remaining deliciously fresh.

George Fenech (1926)
Born in Mellieha on the 3rd January 1926, son of Philip (1887-1953) and Carmela Sammut (1890-1967), the artist likes to recall his early years from his childhood playing in the family fields in Mellieha , close to nature and the landscapes that he treasures so much. He knows every corner of the village countryside. At a young age, George use to join his mother and help her drying the figs at “l- Irdum tal- Qammieh” which he latter depicted in his beautiful canvases.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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