The paso of El Cachorro is housed in the church of Ntra. Madre y Sra. del Patrocinio en su Dolor y Gloria in Triana, on the left side of the Guadalquivir River. As I was in the area one day I decided to pay it a visit. Interestingly, the name actually means ‘cub’ or ‘puppy’. This in itself already made me curious and after a little digging on the internet I got what I expected, a good, juicy legend.
The statue was made by Francisco Antonio Ruiz Gijon who was the best sculptor of the time. He was said to have had serious trouble finding inspiration for this holy job. He drew hundreds of sketches and made many clay models but he wasn’t satisfied. He was so obsessed with it that he slept in his workroom and eventually drove himself into illness.
One night he got up and decided to go for a walk. He suddenly heard somebody screaming and shouting. He started running towards the sound and when he arrived he saw a man lying on the floor, stabbed with a knife, just giving out his last breath. That man was a famous gipsy singer and womaniser who was nicknamed ‘El Cachorro’. His agonised face made such an impression on Ruiz Gijon that he shaped the face of Jesus after him. The statue turned out to be so realistic that many people came to admire it.
The reason why this is one of the famous statues is not only the legend and the amazing sculpting but also its age. Some of these pasos are centuries old, this one for example was made in 1689. This makes them VERY valuable therefore they are never taken out if there’s a chance of a hint of rain that day. If it rained on these statues the paint would all come off and their restoration is nigh impossible. (Not to mention that all the nazarenos would be in a sorry state as the shape of their pointy hat is given by a rolled up cardboard!)
Because of this the paso of El Cachorro hasn’t made it out for years. Let’s hope it will be different this year. If you'd like to visit it, go to Calle Castilla, 182. Check the opening hours before you go!