Samuel Bugeja 1920-2004

The Silent Artist

Samuel Bugeja's Sculptures as Seen by
Other Art Critics

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Ballerina Mother and Baby

The following are well renowned foreign and local art critics including statements by respected personalities:

Mackenzie-Grieve, Averil (1946) Maltese Art Exhibition at British Institute. ‘The Times of Malta’. 12-03.1946. ‘Samuel Bugeja displays extremely high technical skill in his head of a young man’.

Eric Newton, Modern Art artist and internationally recognized book Author and Critic on Modern Art. The School of Art (1956). ‘The Times of Malta’ 28.12.1956. ‘Very particularly impressed by the statuette of a cowled monk carved in wood by Samuel Bugeja’.

Prof Cesare Brandi (1958) Head of Centro del Restauro in Rome. The Jury composed of the Commissione Pontifica d’Arte at the Vatican selected Samuel Bugeja as the winner of the competition for the design of the pedestal and artistic stand for the titular statue of St Mary at the Gozo Cittadella Cathedral. Roamers Comments: ‘Samuel Bugeja is a Disciple of Brandi’. ‘The Sunday Times of Malta’. 02.08.59.

Jesus Crucifixion

Prof Raffaele Causa, President of the Selection Jury composed of Chev. Vicenzo Bonello, Giuseppe Galea, Prof Joseph Galea, Giuseppe Gatt and Judge Montanaro Gauci (1966). Extract from the Selection Document for the Dante Alighieri monument. 20.01.1966. ‘The Jury elects to register the notable quality of the sculpture in wood presented outside the competition of the sculptor Samuel Bugeja’.

Whittet GS (1967). International Renowned Art author of various books. Artistic Independence in Contemporary Maltese Art. The Times of Malta. 09.08.1967. ‘Samuel Bugeja is sculptor of revealing strength in the forms he uncovers with his chisel in trunks of pale wood. Mother and Child, for example, is a sensuously warm rendering of the theme, complete in its incompleteness, retaining the essential feeling of growth from the original whole’.

Domicic Cutajar. Curator - Museum of St. John's Cathedral, Valletta 1981-1987. Curator - Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta 1987-2000. Samuel Bugeja (1920-2004) is one of Malta’s most talented wood-carver. In Bugeja’s case, the grim experience of the war years, coupled with a more modern awareness, was to affect his development – as indeed had also happened to Vincent Apap. During the 1950s, Bugeja discovered his congeniality to a kind of expressionism inspired by Romanesque sculpture.

Prof Mario Buhagiar (2003) University of Malta – Art Unit. 08.05.2003. ‘Your intervention on the St Paul Polyptych retable at the Mdina Cathedral Museum has been remarkably successful and deserves the gratitude and applause of all art lovers in Malta. This is all to your credit. The photographs you generously sent me are an eloquent testimony to the importance of your intervention’.

Perhaps Ray has observed and studied the work of Samuel Bugeja (1920-2004) whose oeuvre is solid and massive. (Borg, E. V. Contemporanea - Maltese Sculpture Exhibition, 2016)