Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The vivid violence and divine healing of ex-voto paintings

By Allison Meier
Votive offering to the Lord of the Encino (1865) (via Museo Frida Kahlo/Wikimedia)
The ex-voto painting is a tradition of folk art that acts as a tribute to divine intervention in personal calamities, as well as an inadvertent catalogue of human misfortune. The artworks cover everything from quotidian accidents, like a flower pot tumbling onto a well-dressed man’s head in 1890 Rome, to more shocking tragedies, such as a woman stabbed in her bed in 1934 Guadalajara, Mexico, and were commissioned as a sign of religious thanks. While attached to the popular practice of Catholicism, ex-voto paintings developed from the votive ritual, which dates back to the ancient pagan beliefs of Rome, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. [link]