THE GALLANT KNIGHT Ilina Filipova 02/23/2024


Religious iconography is an intrinsic part of our culture. This is the same nearly everywhere we go in Malta: Streets, churches, lamps, houses… even our children, and sometimes our pets! 

From locations to individuals, from buildings to entire localities… They’re all named for, or in remembrance of, one saint or another. 

This can be due both to a historical event (say, the 8th of September as Victory Day), a geographic location (the shipwreck of Saint Paul), or due to the cultural significance (the 15th of August, anyone?).

Our tiny island, with its extravagant culture, has a whole pantheon of saints whom we idolise and remember in our way. 

In our village feasts, where we praise their name; our statutes which adorn roads and streets alike; even whole towns, like Saint Paul’s Bay, or Santa Lucia.

Saint George, of course is no exception. He is the patron saint of anything from agricultural workers and shepherds, to soldiers and peacekeepers; from saddle makers and equestrians, to those suffering from either leprosy or syphilis; from England, to Catalonia, from Cappadocia to Palestine… his symbolic presence is globally recognised in a different way.

Most notably however, in Gozo.

Anyone with an opportunity to walk the quiet, traditional parts of Victoria, Gozo’s capital city, should spend some time playing a game, and guessing how many alleys, houses and properties alike, are either named after this street, have a statue of him adorning their front porch, or right under their letterboxes. 

Trust me: No one has that many fingers, or toes, to figure it out!

The people of Rabat are proud of their heritage – so proud, that tourists unfamiliar with such idolatry may end up confused. And frankly, who can blame them?

This three-piece set commemorating St George, is something I had worked on for years. The first piece, which is the central portrait, was finalised around 2020; the latter two, both on horseback, were only finalised a few days ago.

Such an icon deserved a special artistic treat as well. It’s for this reason that I decided to use 22 carat gold leaf as a finishing touch. 

This allows the colours of the mantle, and the luminosity of the personal features, to shine bright and thoroughly. It’s immensely difficult for anyone nearby to not notice, and immediately fall in love with this collection – something which I am immensely proud to have worked on.

Let me know what you think!

💫 Contact me to bring your vision to life, creating whatever your heart desires to add a touch of personality to your home or office space. 

Contact me at +356 79729227 or [email protected] to schedule your visit. Discover more of my artworks at www.artofilina.com and https://www.artfinder.com/artist/artofilina/me-at-work/#.

Let’s embark on a journey of artistic expression together!