Many of the statues and images that play a central role in the celebrations in Adeje during Easter Week have a history all of their own, with restoration works ongoing, which underlies their importance role in the borough’s heritage, with works from keynote sculptors such as Juan Abascal, Juan Ventura or Luis Álvarez Duarte.
Juan Abascal Fuentes (1922-2003)
Juan Abascal Fuentes was a sculptor and professor in Seville who studied art in his home town but originally abandoned his artistic studies to take up the law, which he practised until 1952, when he returned to the world of art, particularly sculpture. Among his influences was Jose Luis Vassallo Parodi, from Cadiz, from whom he learnt the art of religious imagery. His work is also reflective of the style of Seville baroque masters such as Martínez Montañés, Pedro Roldán and Francisco de Ocampo while also very dramatic. His works can be seen on Adeje’s streets on Palm Sunday, Easter Tuesday and Good Friday, and are La Dolorosa/The Virgin of the Sorrows and Jesus entering Jerusalem on a Donkey.
Juan Ventura (1954-)
Born in Lora del Rio in Seville, Juan Ventura studied art in the Fine Arts academy there. He learnt the art of sculpture from Francisco Buiza Fernández, considered a master of imagery. He has a number of works that are seen during Easter Week events. They are:
Nuestra Señora de la Piedad/Our Lady of Pity who is carried out on Good Friday by the Adeje Senior Citizens club. This is a large statue of Our Lady weeping with the fallen Christ in her arms.
Jesús Nazareno, who is carried through the streets in Easter Tuesday, carrying the cross and greatly revered by the Adeje faithful and also recognised for its artistic qualities.
Luis Álvarez Duarte (1949-)
Sculptor, painter and restorer. Also from Seville, self-taught in modelling from an early age and later on received training from artists such as Rafael Barbero, Francisco Buiza, and others. His principal works are religious statues in wood and among his best known works are the Virgin Patron Saint of the Cachorro Brotherhood (1973), and the Christ of the Brotherhood of Thirst, Seville. In 2006 he was appointed a member of the Seville Fine Arts Hungarian Royal Academy. He has also worked on important restorations such as Our Lord of Might, Seville, who lost an arm due to vandalism in 2010. In Adeje two of his works are taken out during Easter Week and revered as much for their artistic merit as their religious significance. They are:
El Señor Cautivo/The Captured Christ from cedar wood, larger than life and reminiscent of the Seville baroque period, with dramatic expressions in the face and body. This statue will be taken from the Hermitage of La Ezperanza de La Viña on Easter Monday in the care of the National Police.
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza/Our Lady of Hope
This is a representation of the Virgin Mary of the Sorrows. According to Andalucian tradition the statue’s face is very expressive with glass tear drops, green glass eyes, natural eye-lashes. The statue is also taken out on Easter Monday and on Easter Wednesday accompanied by Our Lord of Humility and Patience from La Postura to the Parish of Santa Úrsula in the town centre and during the procession on Maundy Thursday and carried by the Porteadores de la Virgen.
Cristo de la Misericordia
One of the images that has led the processions during Easter Week since the 18th Century in Adeje is the Cristo de la Misericordia.
The artist is unknown, but the style represents baroque in its purest form. In the past the position of the figure’s arms were adapted for different Easter events, but now the Christ is on the cross, with the face of the statue representing the point of death. The treatment of the skin, the beard, and other aspects of the statue have been noted by experts.
According to Nelson Díaz Frías in his book La Historia de Adeje (The history of Adeje) there is a reference to an alter with a Crucified Christ in an inventory in 1648 and in another written in 1745 a reference to a similar statue.
In the parochial records documents have been found regarding the rules and regulations of the Misericordia Cofradia (brotherhood), founded in March 1661. The documents name the members of the group, the obligations of the group, which included the numbers needed for processions, the election of a steward, the giving of alms, the wearing of a certain tunic, helping those in need, those condemned to death, and recovery of accident victims. While the group doesn’t actually exist today, their representation is continued in the church and has formed part of the Easter Week celebrations in Adeje since the 17th century