Great Siege Monument
The Great Siege Monument (Maltese: Il-Monument tal-Assedju l-Kbir), also known as the Monument to the Fallen of the Great Siege, is a monument commemorating the Great Siege of Malta located in Valletta, Malta. It consists of three bronze figures symbolizing Faith, Fortitude, and Civilization, standing on top of a granite base. The monument is the work of the sculptor Antonio Sciortino, and it was inaugurated on 8 May 1927.
|Great Siege Monument|
|Maltese: Il-Monument tal-Assedju l-Kbir|
|Completion date||8 May 1927|
The Great Siege Monument was sculpted by Antonio Sciortino in 1926, while he was in Rome. It was then cast in bronze using the lost-wax method, and the monument was inaugurated in Valletta on 8 May 1927. During the inauguration, Chief Justice Arturo Mercieca delivered his speech in Italian, while the priest, philosopher and poet Anastasio Cuschieri delivered a speech in Maltese, both in the presence of the British Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Thomas Alexander Vans Best. This illustrated the language question and the political tension of the time.
The monument is located in Great Siege Square (Maltese: Misraħ l-Assedju l-Kbir) along Valletta's main road, Republic Street (Maltese: Triq ir-Repubblika) by the side of Saint John's Co-Cathedral. The monument originally faced Auberge d'Auvergne, which was replaced by the Courts of Justice building in the 1960s after the original building had been severely damaged in World War II.
The Great Siege Monument appeared on three Maltese stamps issued in 1956, 1962 and 1972. It also featured on the 50 cents coin of the Maltese pound that was first minted in 1972 and was used for general circulation until it was replaced in 1986.
The monument was restored between August and September 2010. It is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.
The Great Siege Monument is considered to be a work of Neoclassical sculpture, exhibiting powerful simple lines which hint at Sciortino's avant-garde style. It has been called "one of the most emblematic sculptures on the island". The statue consists of three bronze figures set on top of a granite base. The positioning of the figures relates closely to Davide Calandra's relief La Glorificazione della Dinastia Sabauda at the Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome.
The three figures are said to be allegorical representations of Faith, Fortitude, and Civilization. The male figure in the centre is Fortitude (or Valour), and he is portrayed bare-chested and wearing a three-pointed crown and some armour, while holding a sword and a shield. There is a female figure on either side, with Faith on the left and Civilization on the right. Faith holds a papal tiara, while Civilization holds a mask of Minerva, the Roman godless of Wisdom.
- Muscat, Mark Geoffrey (2016). "The Influence of Art Deco and Italian Futurism". Maltese Architecture 1900–1970: Progress and Innovations. Valletta: Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. p. 43. ISBN 9789990932065.
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Media related to Great Siege Monument at Wikimedia Commons