Are curse tablets votives?

Stuart McKie is Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at The University of Manchester. He recently completed his PhD at The Open University, with a thesis entitled ‘The Social Significance of Curse Tablets in the North-Western Roman Provinces’. At last year’s combined Roman and Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC/TRAC) held at the Sapienza University in…

Tabitha Moses installation view

The Go Between, by Tabitha Moses

Often, on holiday, I seek out the sacred wells, the ribbon-tied trees and the chapels full of objects and notes asking for help or giving thanks. Out of curiosity, plain nosiness; I’m drawn to the glimpse into another’s life, or death. Why is that? Do I find comfort that someone else has it worse than…

Ex votos in Pompeii – an interview with Monsignor Pietro Caggiano

This week I interviewed Monsignor Pietro Caggiano of the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii – home to a significant collection of ex votos which has accumulated since the Sanctuary’s foundation at the end of the nineteenth century. Monsignor Caggiano has written about the theology of ex votos, and he is currently curating an exhibition of ancient…

Votives and conflict: postscript

A few weeks ago I wrote a post inspired by an article published in 1918, in which the classicist Eugene S. McCartney described some of the votive objects and dedicatory activities that he had encountered at holy sites during the First World War. The sites he visited included the cathedral of St. Andre, Bordeaux (France)…

Our Daily Bread

Yesterday (11 March 2015) saw the opening of a new exhibition of ex-votos curated by the Fondazione Per Grazie Ricevute at the Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan, entitled Give us today our daily bread: The Earth, the Harvest and Food from Antiquity to the Present.   The exhibition centres on the age-old themes of food, the earth and…

Faites vos voeux!

An exhibition at the Musée de La Poste (hosted by the Musée du Montparnasse), Paris, showing until 3rd January 2015. Faites vos voeux! (Make your vows!) brings together thirteen French and international artists who draw on the concept and imagery of the ex-voto. I stumbled across this exhibition by chance when I was in Paris earlier this week, and will…

The First World War in Votives

Today (4th August 2014) is the centenary of the First World War, so it seems an appropriate moment to draw attention to an online collection of Italian ex voto paintings dedicated during WWI, primarily by soldiers and their families. The collection doesn’t include any images from 1914, so to illustrate this post I’ve chosen two tavolette which present episodes from later years…

An exhibition of ex votos in Milan

If you go to Milan, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Casa del Manzoni, which since December has been the home of the Fondazione Per Grazie Ricevute. The Fondazione is a non-profit institution which was set up in July 2013 as a means of preserving and publicising an important private collection of Catholic votive…