Anton Agius – Thinking On Wood | Mdina Cathedral Museum Archives

Anton Agius – Thinking On Wood


Anton Agius held a number of personal exhibitions and also participated in collective ones organised at the Mdina Cathedral Museum. Agius bequeathed a very large collection of his designs and wooden sculptures to this institution. The Cathedral Museum values greatly these significant works and has since exhibited a number of his works at the Museum. One can unarguably claim that the largest concentration of artistic works attributed to Anton Agius can be found in the Cathedral Museum!


Agius (1933-2008) was a prolific sculptor who manifested his artistic creativity in a passion for sculpture in wood; however his extensive body of works include academic monuments, designs for church interior decorative art, postage stamps, and ceramics. Several of Agius’s works are found in private collections all over the world. Yet Agius is most remembered for his monuments spread all over Malta.

The Cathedral Museum’s Vaults 

The “Thinking on Wood“ exhibition is held within the Cathedral Museum’s subterranean vaults, which were re-opened in 1995, after many years of neglect. They have recently been renovated for contemporary exhibitions. These vaults probably served as storage spaces for wine and oil; some large jars still survive. The cellars may have also been used as workshops for the maintenance of the building. These reflect the general lay-out and basic structure of the museum’s ground floor. Interestingly the remains of an old Roman wall can still be seen, a survival of a construction dating from centuries before. the foundation of the seminary in 1734.


The works on display in this exhibition entitled “Thinking on wood” showcase a collection of sculptures in olive wood, which are the result of the artist’s encounter with nature.

The raw material guided Aguis in his ideas, he saw forms hidden in the contorted wood and freed them with his hammer and chisel. Aguis gave life back to trees discarded to make way for roads and buildings. He rekindled their dignity though his art, the dramatic effects and sculptural beauty of the semi-abstract works referencing Gothic art.

Anton Aguis visualised figures in the wood before beginning his work, often combining human figures with fowl, mammals and other creatures. The figures emerge from the wood, trying to disengage themselves from each other and transcend their natural form. The movement and flow of the final forms is highly expressive, evoking strong emotions.

A selection of the artist’s drawings are also represented here, in facsimile. They were composed using different techniques and media, including ink and wash, watercolour, pencil and crayon. The figurative, semi-abstract and occasionally fantastic subject matter figured in the drawings was intended for eventual sculpture.


09:30 – 16:15 (last entrance)
Doors close at 16:45