Happy Birthday Mattia Preti!! Italian painter, from a small town Taverna Calabria, Preti was born in 1613 during the Baroque period. Caravaggio (1573-1610) also from that region, was a great influence. Preti traveled to Rome, doing easel paintings as well as frescoes. He was also in Naples and finally Malta, where he lived the remaining 40 years of his life. In 1659 he was deemed Knight of Grace in the order of St. John and perhaps his most remarkable work is his contribution to the church of St. John, in Malta, where his vault painting, a narrative of the life of St. John the Baptist has been called the purest form of High Baroque decoration. The portion below is an image of St. John the Baptist preaching; note the great emotion, even fear, on the listeners in the lower section, as the angel peaceably strums his harp.