Πέμπτη, 4 Αυγούστου 2011

Ex-votos

An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshipper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help. As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modelled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item such as a crutch given by a person formerly lame.

Healing and faith have always played a role in the lives of the faithful. They are interwoven in the fabric of social history. How we regard illness and healing, and how we cope with them have captured our imagination throughout the ages. The expression of our relationship with illness is wonderfully illustrated in the ex-voto, a devotional painting giving thanks to a saint or deity for a miraculous healing or a blessing. The faithful have always used prayer to invoke the aid of saints as a means to heal the sick and end one’s suffering. These devotional paintings are an individual’s expression of thanks for the intercession of the divine in a crisis, a snapshot in time of illness and healing. They offer a rare opportunity to view health, healing, and illness through the hearts and minds of the ordinary person.

From its beginnings in 15th century Italy through its spread to the New World in the 16th century, ex-votos have played a role in the daily lives of the faithful especially in Mexico. When many people think of exvotos in Mexico, they think of those painted on tin or sheet metal. This use of tin started in the 19th century and are the majority of the pictures I post. These exvotos are generally around a foot in length, and were often painted by a local artist or artisan for the giver, who may not have been able to read and write. Most Mexican exvotos have a detailed explanation of why the donor is giving thanks.

They continued to be a popular expression of faith and healing into the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the most prolific period of ex-voto production. Although the ex-voto experienced a decline in the 20th century, the faithful still continue to commission artists to create them today. Most remain a personalized expression of thanks for a healing or a restoration of health, but their purpose has expanded to include the commemoration of a special event or to address a concern in an individual’s life. Ex-votos continue to be a reflection of a tradition where faith and healing play a vital role in daily life.U.S. National Library of Medicine

Πρόκειται για τα γνωστά σε εμάς τάματα ή αναθήματα. Τα υπό παρουσίαση αφορούν καλλιτεχνήματα που αφιερώνονται στο Θείο ως ένδειξη ευγνωμοσύνης που εισακούστηκαν οι προσευχές και θεραπεύτηκε ο ασθενής, είτε με τη βοήθεια της ιατρικής, είτε και επιστημονικά ανεξήγητα ως "θαύμα". Η ποικιλία αυτών των αναθημάτων σε μορφή είναι τεράστια, ανάλογα με την εποχή, τον πολιτισμό, κλπ. και η απαρχή της συνήθειας χάνεται στα βάθη των αιώνων. Αυτά που παρουσιάζω είναι μικρής κλίμακας ζωγραφιές του γεγονότος με σύντομες επεξηγήσεις για την πορεία της ασθένειας, τη χρονιά που τελέστηκε το "θαύμα" και όλα εκτός του πρώτου, που είναι ευρωπαϊκό και πολύ παλιό (1777) τα άλλα προέρχονται από το Μεξικό (μεταξύ μέσων 19ου και μέσων 20ου αι.) και είναι ζωγραφιές πάνω σε κομμάτι λαμαρίνας, διαστάσεων περίπου 30-35 εκ. Η δημιουργία τους ανατίθεντο σε λαϊκούς καλλιτέχνες. Οι αφιερώσεις αυτές δεν είχαν σκοπό μόνο την ευχαρίστηση του θείου για την προσφορά του, αλλά αποτελούσαν και μαρτυρίες για το γεγονός ώστε να ενδυναμωθεί η πίστη και στο υπόλοιπο εκκλησιαστικό κοινό.















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