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David Henty Newsletter

February 2024


Lately, I’ve been well and truly following in the footsteps of Caravaggio! After a wonderful trip to Rome at the end of 2023, where we were hot on his trail, my birthday gift was another trip to view yet more Caravaggio paintings, this time on the beautiful Island of Malta.


During the summer of 1607, Caravaggio left Naples for the island of Malta. Little did he realise, however, that the Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt would embrace him once there, bestowing on him the habit of the Hospitaller Order of St John the Baptist as an honorific Knight of Magistral Obedience! He was subsequently commissioned to paint St Jerome and the Beheading of St John the Baptist, both of which hang in St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, works of sheer genius.


Standing in front of them, I felt completely engulfed by their size and grandeur. The Beheading of St John the Baptist is rendered in such magnificent detail that it captures perfectly the terrible intensity of the moment. It remains the only painting Caravaggio ever signed.


Like Caravaggio, my stay in Malta was rather brief (Caravaggio, later defrocked by the Order of the Knights of St John, escaped Malta for Sicily in 1608, where he lived as a fugitive). Again, following in his footsteps, I know where my next adventure is likely to be!


Now home again, I’m very excited to be filming an interview with ZDF German TV on Friday (I’ll keep you updated as to when it’ll be aired). Also, the fabulous Pilgrm Hotel in Paddington, London are hosting an evening with me on 22nd February (contact them directly for tickets).


Wishing you a great February, now it’s back to planning my next Caravaggio trip (and, of course, doing a spot of painting!)


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