The tales depicted in the ex­votos

Non potes miserias scire et non subvenire

Thou canst not know of our needs and not come to our rescue

From the inscription on ex­voto 18

Ex­votos, paintings of the exceptional in everyday life

The painted ex­votos are an intimate and generous way of living religiosity and one\’sown thanksgiving for an event in life deemed miraculous. A close iconographic study of the ex­votos from the Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Succour reveals a cross­section of life among people who have looked at everyday life and personal histories, throughout past centuries, as being part of a providential plan. From illness to healing, from shipwrecks to horse­riding accidents, the little stories of merchants and travellers who have escaped natural dangers blend into the greater history, leaving traces of the international relations (regarding trade in particular) that people from Lake Como have held throughout the centuries.

A strategy of cultural valorisation

The website is part of a wider project of cultural valorisation of the ex‐votos painted at the Sanctuary in Ossuccio. la cui responsabilità scientifica è affidata al CREA (Research Centre for Education through Art and mediation of the cultural heritage throughout the land and in museums) of Milan's Catholic University (UCSC), has been entrusted with the scientific responsibility of the whole project. Further action:
The Convention: The tales depicted in the Ex-Votos. The Ossuccio case - History, restoration and valorisation
The Exhibition: Tales of land, water, and Sky. The painted ex‐votos at Ossuccio's Sanctuary.
The Restoration of the artefacts, by Martino Mascherpa

Scientific project: Cecilia De Carli
The gallery of ex­-votos
choose the painting and look at the details

"Reading" the ex­votos
4 thematic paths towards a visual and narrative reading of the ex­-votos

between the ordinary and the extraordinary

Each of the paintings, whatever the miracle for which the thanksgiving is being offered, binds the daily course of events to the divine providence.

the thread of the tale

In a very small space the painter gives many informations, so that the onlooker may retrace all the subsequent passages of the event.

The Journeey's landscape

Most of the paintings tell a story of perils escaped during a journey.
The landscape is an important part of the tale.

Hope-Promise-Give Thanks

In the moment of peril all the protagonists of these little­big stories cry their hope out loud, their desire to do good, their firm belief that the Divine Providence will not fail to come to the rescue.