Lavric-Testaferrata AHAS 3angl


Portrait of Commendatarius P. G. Testaferrata by Francesco Zahra

In the village of Komenda (Slovenia), where the Knights Hospitaller had their estate in the past, a portrait of the commendatarius Pietro Giacomo Testaferrata (1673–1763) has been preserved, the work of the foremost Maltese portrait painter of the time, Francesco Zahra.

After having resided for several years on his estate at Komenda, then belonging within the Duchy of Carniola, Testaferrata first left for Italy where he held various offices, and in 1755 he withdrew to his native town of Valletta on Malta where he spent the rest of his life. His Komenda estate was meanwhile managed by Peter Pavel Glavar (1721–1784), his illegitimate son and a priest by vocation, who also had a position in the parish there, first as the chaplain, and since 1751 as the parish priest.

Although the proud Maltese never acknowledged his paternity, he nevertheless harboured deep feelings for his son, who in turn felt much the same for his father. Testaferrata was of fairly advanced age when Glavar requested a portrait from him. The father fulfilled his son's wish and commissioned his portrait from the famous Francesco Zahra. The story of the painting's peregrination from Malta to Komenda is illustrated in the present paper with fragments from Testaferrata's letters.