Edward Caruana Dingli (1876 – 1950)

Unlike most artists, Edward Caruana Dingli’s life is completely different from what is reflected in his works. According to his biographer, Caruana Dingli joined the civil service and was commissioned in the Royal Malta Regiment of Militia, where he the transferred to the Royal Malta Artillery. At the age of 37, he had left the army to become a full-time artist. These events in his life purport to describe the greatest artist of his generation, with most regarding Edward Caruana Dingli as Puccini to Cali’s Verdi. Although being one of the greatest Maltese artists, he was not appreciated from the start. In fact, during his first exhibition, he couldn’t sell any of his works. Although Caruana Dingli’s gouaches and watercolours are often breath-taking in their ability to convey light and atmosphere, they can sometimes be intense. However, Caruana Dingli needed no props as he was adored by the muses and his work was often full-blooded, passionate and effortless. Two of his famous works are his self-portraits, one showing the artist in the full flush of his powers and showing a bleak effort to impress posterity with his social dignity, while the other, painted in the year of his death, is different. It is moving, wearing casual clothes as a final testament. This passionate artist loved beauty and the female form.

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