Thursday, March 12, 2009
Mexican ex-votos or votive paintings, have been a long tradition for the Catholic people of Mexico. They are paintings, originally done on tin, that give an offering of thanks to the icon who performed the miracle. These paintings are often done by family members of the saved person, and not necessarily a professionally trained painter. The votive paintings represent the event that occurred and always include the icon, raised above the scene. The votives are usually small, averaging 9" X 12" and have very stylized figures and include an inscription at the bottom. The occurrences that happen in these scenes range from an illness to loss of wealth to violence. The icons are usually the Virgin of a particular area or a specific saint. I find these paintings very interesting because of their perspective and their narrative. The point of view is always as if the viewer is looking at the action, a very traditional format. The stylized figures and the scene tell an interesting story, based on the painter's point of view. Exaggerated features often tell a personal detail of the afflicted person. These little stories of thanks recap a usually horriffic event, but it is necessary to relive this event to give the thanks. I am not a religious person, but can appreciate the gratitude they give to their icons of belief.