National Library of Medicine recently opened an exhibition of ex-voto paintings, described as “a devotional painting giving thanks to a saint or deity for a miraculous healing or a blessing.”
From the gallery page:
The faithful have always used prayer to invoke the aid of saints as a means to heal the sick and end one’s suffering. These devotional paintings are an individual’s expression of thanks for the intercession of the divine in a crisis, a snapshot in time of illness and healing. They offer a rare opportunity to view health, healing, and illness through the hearts and minds of the ordinary person.
From its beginnings in 15th century Italy through its spread to the New World in the 16th century, ex-votos have played a role in the daily lives of the faithful especially in Mexico. They continued to be a popular expression of faith and healing into the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the most prolific period of ex-voto production. Although the ex-voto experienced a decline in the 20th century, the faithful still continue to commission artists to create them today.
Gallery link: Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos