Exploring the art of confraternities: confraternity museums
Deeply rooted in 500-year-old traditions, Málaga’s Holy Week and Easter is one of the most powerful and popular cultural events in Spain. In fact, it has been designated as an Event of International Tourist Interest. Majestic processions, strong devotion and religious feeling make it attractive to thousands of visitors from all over the globe every year.
The processions staged by the confraternities are like museums of religious art brought to the open: cassocks and chasubles, cloaks, fine metal artefacts, banners, canopies, canopy poles… a remarkable art heritage kept in the city.
There are several museums in Málaga where you can get familiar with Holy Week traditions, liturgy and art.
The treasury of the Cathedral Museum includes silver liturgical objects, embroidered robes, carved figures, monstrances and reliquaries, altar supplies, crucified Christs in ivory, and more. Besides, the Museum features a nice coffered ceiling in the Mudejar style from the sixteenth century and an interesting selection of paintings and sculptures, with works by Pedro de Mena and José de Ribera, among other artists.
Archconfraternity of La Esperanza Museum
The Archconfraternity of La Esperanza stage their procession on Maundy Thursday. Their Museum is next to the basilica that serves as the Confraternity’s headquarters. It shows religious paintings and wood carvings, fine metalwork and beautifully embroidered robes. The ceiling mural by Eugenio Chicano and the fresco painting “The Passion According to St John” by Rodríguez Acosta are worth seeing.
Cofraternity of Students Museum
This Museum, on Alcazabilla Street, belongs to the Confraternity of Students, whose procession is staged on Holy Monday. Its collection includes furnishings, embroidered robes, jewellery and religious paintings, all of them belonging to the Confraternity. It is an interactive museum, featuring an educational room for visitors who want to learn more about the Holy Week and Easter in Málaga.
Cofraternity of Santo Sepulcro Museum
Also on Acazabilla Street, you can visit the Santo Sepulcro Museum, owned by the Confraternity of Viernes Santo (Good Friday). This Museum is made up of two galleries showing paintings, liturgical objects and embroidered robes and banners.
El Cautivo y La Trinidad Museum
This Museum, belonging to the Confraternity of Nuestro Padre Jesús Cautivo y María Santísima de la Trinidad Coronada (Our Father Jesus, the Captive and Holy Mary Crowned by the Holy Trinity) contains one of the finest religious art collections in Málaga. Located in the district of La Trinidad, where the headquarters of the Confraternity are, the Museum’s six galleries show an outstanding selection of pieces that are part of the Confraternity’s religious, historical and artistic heritage.
Confraternity of La Expiración Museum and Treasury
This Museum and Treasury, managed by the Archconfraternity of La Expiración (The Last Breath of Jesus), is comprised of four galleries. Several of the items on display are taken out in the procession on Holy Wednesday, along with the Confraternity’s holy figures. The processional cross and Virgin Mary’s mantle are remarkable.
Holy Week Museum
The Holy Week Museum shares its building with the Confraternities’ Association of Málaga. In it, visitors can find outstanding works of art, like paintings by Juan Niño de Guevara and a sculpture of Risen Christ by José Capuz (1945). In addition, there is a gallery for temporary exhibitions, named after Confraternity member Jesús Castellanos.