Informations and abstract
Keywords: Ex-voto, votive art, contemporary art, art and religion, art boundaries
Ex-votos are generally taken to be a product of popular superstition, dating back to Greek-Roman times. Thus, their artistic meaning is not deemed worth of consideration: their iconography is dismissed as being conservative, repetitive and vulgar. The authors, on the basis of observation of ex-votos in several Italian sanctuaries and of comparison with other traditions (especially Mexican retablos), challenge this thesis. They maintain that votive art evolves in the same direction as official art: stylization, large use of photography, «ready made», and so on, so that many ex-votos could be exhibited in contemporary art galleries. In conclusion, the authors do not simply claim that «grace» and «aura» are remarkably similar, but that elements of artistic innovation emerge from votive and, more generally, from «popular» art.