Misericórdia: (Re)seeing Christian Art
October 18-21, 2016
The MASF outlined a programme of activities with the aim of marking the National Day of Cultural Assets of the Church, which, since 2011, the Portuguese Episcopal Conference celebrates each year on October 18. Our participation extended throughout the week, in line with what was proposed at national level. The set of activities outlined for the museum was centred on the general theme proposed: “(Re)seeing Christian Art". In fact, through multiple dialogues that took place between the museum, institutions and the public, we summoned new views and frameworks of the cultural and artistic heritage of a Christian matrix, highlighting it as a witness to the expression of worship and faith. The semantic activation of the religious artistic heritage was effected in an approach that highlighted the pastoral function of the church's cultural assets, while at the same time framing it from the point of view of culture and the arts, and to mediate a message to the general public.
In Funchal and in regard to this initiative of the Museum, at the same time a new framework was sought for the intervention: as we approached the close of the Year of the Misericórdia, we wanted to use this very significant topic as guidance for designing the set of some activities organized around the theme “Misericórdia: (re)seeing Christian art."

With this participation in a national programme, the Sacred Art Museum and the Diocese of Funchal sought to fit into a broader pastoral perspective, with and through which art and culture becomes a vehicle of evangelization, contributing to the consistent and integrated rereading of the iconography that, over the centuries, objectified the Christian message for our communities.

In the Chapel of São Luís de Tolosa, an exhibition was organized that displayed a more complete chronology of the history of the chapel and highlighted the sculpture of São Luís de Tolosa from the seventeenth century, in dialogue with a diversity of artistic objects from the Misericórdia of Funchal, exhibited there in an old exhibition designed for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of this institution in 2008. The same exhibition extended on to the 1st floor of the main building of the museum, where other objects of the Misericórdia were already on permanent display,
having been incorporated previously. The plan laid out for this exhibition also included bringing to the museum, on a temporary loan basis, as a “visiting work", an eighteenth-century baroque sculpture representing São Luís de Tolosa from the Church of Our Lady of the Conception, of Lombada da Ponta do Sol.