Museos, Museos, Museos, Málaga

We’ve gotten behind on our Málaga museums. There are dozens of them, some world class, some a little quirky, some world class quirky, some in 500 year-old palaces, houses, or warehouses, some outside archeological sites 2,000+ years old, some brand new. In no particular order:

Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares

While the Museum of Popular Arts is a trip back in time to life in Málaga in the 18th, 19th, and 20th (?) centuries, I could at least explain most of what is displayed on the ground floor. And if I couldn’t explain it, my audience didn’t know the difference. Other areas (beside the one shown) dealt with bakers (they eat a lot of topas,) blacksmiths (they use a lot of wrought iron,) wine makers, fishermen, coopers (they use a lot of barrels; some for storing salted fish; the name Málaga started with the Phoenicians and has something to do with salted fish.)

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Ron explaining to the city girl what this is and why

The upper level was harder for me to explain.

The smaller pictures on the right are very elaborate nativity scenes, which might be called ‘Belén’ by the locals. ‘Belén’ might translate as ‘at Bethlehem.’ In addition to some of the historic and geographic liberties that artwork of this genre are allowed, the lower one has a peculiar anachronistic twist. The hills are covered with a variety of small figures engaged in various activities, including hunting (I don’t know for what.) with rifles. (You can blow it up with a couple clicks.) (By ‘blow up’ I mean enlarge.)

The museum is housed in an 18th century house, which, unlike most public areas in this barrio, definitely did not meet ADA standards.

Museo del Vidrio y Cristal

A former Oxford history professor has had a lifelong obsession with glass and Spanish glass in particular, but not exclusively. His collection is now housed en plantas bajas y primeras of a restored 18th century house in Málaga, while the owners occupy la planta segunda (we would call it the third floor.) We were led through the house by the Professor himself, whose English was impeccable. His knowledge of glass, of glass making history and techniques, and of glass makers, artists, and artisans was overwhelming, in a good way.

The glass was displayed by period; moving from room to room was another trip through another history. Lots of plates, bowls, cups, and wine glasses plus stuff of no utilitarian value whatsoever. Some pieces were museum quality art; others were given away by gas stations or won at carnivals. Each room was furnished appropriately for the period; no hunting rifles with the Phoenician urns.

Many stained glass windows from churches, either purchased or donated, were scattered throughout. Elephants and books are two of Doré’s decorating themes. The second photo is a room of glass primarily from Barcelona; the odd piece of furniture at the far end was designed by the somewhat idiosyncratic architect, Antoi Gaudi, although I am coming to think the phrase ‘idiosyncratic architect’ is redundant. (Is that an antonym for ‘oxymoron?’) The wine glasses and decanter in the third photo were donated by a Spanish friend, who found them in his parents house when he was getting it ready to sell; he had never seen them before. The final photo is the atrium, which is used for events to help support the museum

Part of the tour was just us; for part, we were accompanied by four English and Scottish matrons, who could have been friends of Miss Marple. They found paintings of the dukes and duchesses more interesting than we did. The portrait of Queen Victoria’s mother as a teenager was particularly captivating.

The one noticeable anachronism in the house was it had a lift.

Did you know that some Egyptian pharaohs wore glass jewelry made from naturally occurring glass found in the desert? Perhaps made by lightening or meteorite melting sand.

Or did you know that Victoria, from a very early age, was the only heir to the British crown? She was closely guarded and protected from every possible hazard, like staircases.

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