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The Building

The Museum Jorge Rando adjoins the Monasterio de las Mercedarias in Calle Cruz del Molinillo in Málaga. This building was designed by architect Manuel Rivera Valentín (1878) and its construction was financed by the convent’s founder, Mercedes Bisso Vidal. It opened in 1893 and is considered to be an emblematic building of great artistic interest. 

The building consists of the convent, the church, rooms for the postulates, the caretakers’ house and the school/nursery. In the rear patio there is a remarkable orange tree which was planted by the founder of the convent more than 130 years ago.

The works to convert part of the Monastery into a Museum were begun by Málaga council in 2011 and were completed in the spring of 2014 under the direction of architect José Antonio González Vargas. The harshness of expressionist art could not find a better home than this spiritual setting.

The district

The museum is located in the traditional district of Cruz del Molinillo, in the historic Capuchinos area. The street, Calle Cruz de Molinillo, and those surrounding it were once in the first suburb which grew up around the historic centre of Málaga city; the suburb was called ‘Fontanalla’ and was the most densely populated area outside the city walls. It was protected by a low wall all around its perimeter and ceramic manufacturers settled here, as can be seen from some of the street names today, such as Calle Ollerías. The potteries, which were a Roman legacy, existed thanks to the availability of raw materials and abundant water, and they expanded towards the north and west of the suburb.

Documentation shows that this suburb consisted of different areas, including the small ones by the Granada and Antequera gates of the city and fields for agriculture and cattle.  The fields of the ‘Huerta del Molinillo’ covered the whole of the northern area, as can be seen from historic maps up to the end of the 19th century, which is when the buildings there were completed. Nowadays only names, such as Huerto de las Monjas or Huerto de los Claveles, show that they ever existed, and the garden inside the Monasterio de las Mercedarias is the only one that remains.
Today, Calle Cruz de Molinillo is like the backbone of a network of urban streets in the original suburbs and those that grew up later to the north of the historic city centre.
Calle Cruz de Molinillo runs between the Puente de Armiñán bridge over the Guadalmedina River and the Alameda de Capuchinos, and along its route are some emblematic buildings such as the Antigua Casa de Socorro, which is attributed to architect Fernando Guerrero Strachan, the Salamanca Market building which was the work of Daniel Rubio, the Monsterio de las MM Mercedarias, which was designed by architect Manuel Rivera Valentín and the chapel of La Piedad, one of the hallmarks of the district.

El Molinillo is a popular district, always busy with people passing through or local residents. There is life here, a great deal of life. It is a district which still retains its essence, where franchises have still not replaced the small shops with their personal service which is so hard to find these days, where the bars are not modern copies of those in European capitals but are more like traditional taverns in which to enjoy a glass of Moscatel, and where there is a market in which the stallholders shout out what is on offer and how much it costs. Visitors to the museum can take the opportunity to stroll through the district and enter into this traditional Málaga, to enjoy the distinctive signs of identity of a city with its own character.

The Museum Jorge Rando now forms part of this community, to which it gives its support to emphasize its visibility. It participates in improvements such as planting trees, thanks to the collaboration of the Town Hall, thereby maintaining the ambience which makes Málaga so different.