Skip to main content



Pawl Carbonaro, who according to his own words grew up in his father’s workshop, has been immersed in an artistic and creative atmosphere since infancy. No surprise he has become one of Malta’s foremost contemporary artists, helping to establish an era of modernism at a time when the national cultural landscape was in dire need of renewal.

After training under his father in his youth and dropping out of his local art academy after three months of underwhelming courses, Carbonaro enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1974–1979), which necessitated his resignation from the bank at which he had been working to finance his artistic practice on the side. This leap of faith was a risky one, considering that, at the time, Italy was living in fear of the Red Brigades anarchist group and its warfare tactics. Carbonaro’s graduation and his father’s death brought him back to the island, to mourn a loved one and a mentor.

As a landscape painter and etcher at heart, nature has never left the tip of his brush, despite his subsequent evolution towards abstraction over time. As the lines lose in figuration, one easily observes the translation of the subject’s organicism to that of the gesture, the strokes growing in intensity, confidence and expressivity. A disturbed earth or tormented sea are never too far from his abstract vocabulary. It is as if Cézanne’s inspired unsteadiness in his early landscapes had collapsed on itself, leaving disorganised patterns that fail to convey any representational sense in its wake. The natural sentiment is preserved thanks to the artist’s choice of palette, ranging from the vibrantly earthy to the nautically deep.

Explore the collection

by Geographical provenance

by Artist