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Finding Faith: Ex-voto offerings for recovery from illness

Photo by Lucien de Guise , courtesy of the Science Museum, London

Lucien de Guise - published on 03/15/20

These works of art were offered as thanks to God, or in the case of this 18th- or 19th-century Spanish tile, to the Virgin Mary.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.
Photo by Lucien de Guise , courtesy of the Science Museum, London

Ex-voto offerings might well be coming into fashion as the global health crisis worsens. In the past, these charmingly sincere representations were produced in huge quantities, usually with more recognizable symptoms than Covid-19. These two images, probably from 18th- or 19th-century Spain, are unusual in being ceramic tiles. One shows thanks being given to the Virgin Mary for recovery from a savage-looking dog bite; the other is about beating mental illness by banishing a host of demons.

Photo by Lucien de Guise, courtesy of the Science Museum, London

Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.

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