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Maltzeff, G.P.

MALTZEFF, GREGORIUS PAVLOVICH (1881 – 1953)
Gregorji Maltzeff was born in Talashmanova (Russia) on November 27th, 1881. He joins the Fluvial Academy. As an officer he joins the Nobel’s family fluvial fleet. The Nobels notice his talent for fine arts and encourage him to join the Imperial Art Academy in St. Petersburg (1908).
Academy Prizes:
1908 – second prize - “Peter the Great in Astrakhan in 1711”.
1909 – second prize – “The Mongol Yoke in the XIIIth Century”.
1910 – first prize – “Cossacks on the Volga”
(All these paintings are still on exhibition at the Academy’s Museum)
1912 – wins the “Prix de Rome” with “St. Alexis, Moscow’s Metropolitan, heals Princess Tandulla, the Khan’s Wife”. This painting is exhibited at the Academy’s Museum with all the material gathered during his staying in the Kirghisi steppe. This work wins him the title of “Academician of Russia” and a study period in Rome, Italy.
1914 – arrives in Rome, Italy. At the breaking of the Russian revolution, he decides to remain in Rome.
1916 – queen Helen of Montenegro commissions him a portrait of her firstborn son.
The demand for Icons is growing and Gregorji is asked to paint them.
1921/1922 – Grand Duchess Victoria, the Russian Empress sister, comes to visit him in his atelier accompanied by her husband Grand Admiral Prince of England Battenberg Milfords-Haven. Impressed by his art, she commissions a portal and various works for the English Royal family.
1925 – the painting “Rafts on the Volga” is exhibited at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni” in Rome and is purchased by the Modern Art Museum of the city of Piacenza.
1926 – the Jesuits Main Mother House of Rome commissions him tapestries (6mX4.5m) for their Chapel in Borgo St. Spirito in Rome.
In the same year:
- commissioned a portrait of WWI war hero Col. Pellegrini.
- commissioned a family portrait of Grand Officer Ortensio Spigarelli who is an art lover and connoisseur.
Also in 1926 he builds a house in the country (Rocca Priora – Castelli Romani area) where he will become very well known. The local Parrish commissions a portrait of St. Francis and other two paintings and the Pallottini Fathers (local priest Seminary School and church) commission seven more paintings.
His art works is also needed for the new Church in Ostia (Rome).
he Antoniana Church in Frascati
the Greek Abbey in Grottaferrata
the Mondragone Villa in Tuscolo
in Piglio in the Sabina area, etc.
1935/1936 - the Russicum College in Rome, for which he will work for over twenty year, commissions him the church of St. Antonio Abate (Catholic Cult Church of Oriental Rite.) All the Iconostasis and the Main Altar are carved in wood and covered with gold leaf especially send from Florence.
The works are as follows:
Chapel of the Slavic Apostles , Cyril and Methodius.
Chapel of St. Peter and Paul
Chapel of St. Theresa with Baby Jesus
Two Chapels with Iconostasis for the Oriental Institute
One Iconostasis for the Russicum Seminary
In the same year the President of the Pontifical Commission grants him an audience with Pope Pius XI.
The Russicum commissions the Chapel of their summer residence in Villa Ottone, Island of Elba. His works are also requested for the Rumanian Catholic Church, in Rome, and later for its Chapel.
Many of his paintings will be sent abroad:
St. Mary Deificatora – Bogotá – Chile
Harvard Club (Cultural Association) of St. Francisco – USA
General House of the Eucharist Nuns- St. Sophia – Bulgaria
Family portrait of H.E. President of Costa Rica General Volio – Costa Rica
Marquees Fumasoni – Biondi commissions he works for the “Sailors Chapel” in the Sanctuary of Porto Novo and portrait of H.E. Cardinal Fumasoni – Biondi.
Also paints the Ethiopic Madonna who appears of many books concerning Virgin Mary.
1939/1940 – the Greek-Catholic community of Malta builds a church dedicated to “St. Mary Damascene”. The church is in Byzantine style and Gregorji is asked to work on the paintings. This will be done in his atelier in Rome and later shipped to Malta.
The same year he portraits the Czechoslovakian Ambassador in Rome.
Gets a commission from the Director of the “Banco Ambrosiano” (one of the main Catholic Banks of the times) for a Crucifix painted on copper. One of the most magnificent art works he has ever done.
The people of Rocca Priora commissioned him a banner representing the Virgin Mary with praying Italian soldiers. The banner is now kept at the Sanctuary of the “Divino Amore” outside Rome.
1949 – the English, Maltese and Greek community commission Gregorji to rebuild the “St. Mary Damascene” church which was completely destroyed during Malta’s bombings.
1950 – he is invited to Malta to supervise the works. He will go back later on to arrange his paintings in the church.
1953 – he peacefully passes away in Bruna di Castel Ritaldi near the town of Spoleto.
Source: letter of  Michael Axel McCain (painter grandson & supervisor)
2011-10-12
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