Jean de la Valette was one of the greatest figures in the history of the Order of St John and his defence of Malta against the Turks in 1565 one of the most famous events in European history.

He was hailed as a hero and showered with gifts by leaders of many lands. This bust is attributed to Leone Leoni, one of the leading Renaissance artists who specialised in portrait busts and medals. He worked extensively for members of the Habsburg family, who were active supporters of the Knights. The fact that the bust is first recorded in a sale of objects from the great collector and scholar Eugene Piot strongly suggests that it was part of the booty taken from Malta by Napoleon in 1798. The rich collection of the newly refurbished Museum contains objects from all phases of the OrderÂ’s history, especially the story of Malta. This acquisition will enhance their ability to inspire, inform and educate their visitors.


M.E. Piot sale1860; Gallerie Kugel, Paris; Daniel Katz Ltd.

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