Fra' Nicolas Cotoner
was the 61st Prince
The term Prince of the Church is nowadays used nearly exclusively for Catholic Cardinals. However the term is historically more important as a generic term for clergymen whose offices hold the secular rank and privilege of a prince or are considered its equivalent...
and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, between 1663 and 1680. He was the son of Marc Antoni Cotoner i de Santmartí and brother of the previous master, Rafael Cotoner.
In 1669, after a peace agreement signed between Venetia and the Ottoman Empire following the retake of Candia, Nicolas
Cotoner improved the fortifications of Malta and funded the building of one of the fortresses intended to
host the inhabitants in case of invasion. The fortress was named the Cottonera.
A strategist and a diplomatic, he greatly increased the prestige of the order,
mainly in France, Venetia and England. In 1674 funded in Malta a school of Anatomy
and Medicine as an annex of the Sacra Infermeria. He drew up (in italian) the
constitutions and estatutes of the order (1674).
He is buried in the Chapel of Aragon in the Co-Cathedral. He was succeeded by Fra Gregorio Carafa
Fra' Gregorio Carafa was the 62th Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta from 1680 to 1690. Italian by birth, he was elected Grand Master after the death of Nicolas Cotoner. He is buried in the Italian Chapel in the Co-Cathedral of St. John, Valletta, Malta.-External links:*...
Nicolas Cotoner continued the work on the redecoration of St. John's Co-Cathedral commenced by his brother, Rafael, and much of the splendour of the Cathedral occurred during his reign including the decoration of the vault painted by the Calabrian artist Mattia Preti
Mattia Preti was an Italian Baroque artist who worked in Italy and Malta.- Biography :Born in the small town of Taverna in Calabria, Preti was sometimes called Il Cavalier Calabrese...
as well as much of the carving and gilding of most of the walls.
The sepulchral monument to Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner, located prominently to the right side of the main altar in the chapel of the langue of Aragon in St John's Co-Cathedral, was produced by Domenico Guidi
Domenico Guidi was a prominent Italian Baroque sculptor.Born in Carrara, Guidi followed his uncle, the prominent sculptor, Giuliano Finelli to Naples. As the nephew of a sculptor noted for his feud with Bernini, it is not surprising that Guidi was never employed by the eminent master...
and is one of the most prominent and beautiful monuments in the Cathedral. The remarkable Cotoner monument consists of a pyramidal distribution of figures with a central grouping of triumphal paraphernalia such as arms and trophies which surround the bronze gilded bust of the Grand Master. Above a cherub holds the Cotoner armorial shield whilst the allegory of Fame blows a trumpet in triumph. The sepulchral monument was assembled in the chapel in June of 1686.