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John Foster

Accidental Mysteries


Ex-votos, visual expressions to God for the power of a healing miracle, are most often found in Latin America and Mexico. Believers usually depict the injury or illness by painting on tin, wood or canvas. Often the particular body part that is afflicted is carved from wood, with the specific injured area painted red as if it were blood. Ex-votos are almost always combined with three key elements: a narrative section to describe the situation; a depiction of God, Jesus or the Holy Mother; and the malady or situation that is being prayed for.

Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto praying for monster-sized baby. Oil on metal, 8.5 x 12.25 inches, dated 1916.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto believed to be by "The Almond Eye Painter," Oil on metal, 10 x 7 inches, dated 1884?


Communicating with the Divine
The "Story of Modesta Fernanda." Oil on metal. 10 x 7 inches, dated 1897.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto carving from Brazil, prayer for injury or disease on face. Carved and polychromed wood, 8.5 tall by 5.5 inches wide x 3 inches deep. Circa 1900. John Foster Collection.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto dedicated to The Holy Virgin who saved Melquiades Arreola from near death after a fall from a Mulberry Tree. Oil on metal. 20 x 14 inches, early 20th century.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto attributed to Tadeucio Vasquez, "the worried painter.” Oil on metal. 7 x 10 inches, 1888.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto, "Nino" Oil on metal, 10 x 14 inches, 1900.


Communicating with the Divine
Giving thanks for  an escape from collapsed roof," Oil on metal, 14 x 10 inches, circa 1920.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto of encounter dedicated to the Virgin of Bethlehem (La Virgen de Belen); Oil on metal, 5.5 x 7.5 inches, dated 1887.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for safety from dog attack. Oil on metal, 10 x 14 inches, dated 1908.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for regained health after being thrown from wild horse. Oil on metal, 7 x 10 inches, dated 1922.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe for the health of child who hurt finger on the Singer Sewing Machine. Oil on metal, 8.5 x 12 inches, dated 1931.


Communicating with the Divine
Anonymous Ex-voto of group prayer for sick, bedridden man. Oil on metal. Circa 1875.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for man run over by stagecoach. Oil on wood, 9.25 x 12.5 inches, dated 1764.


Communicating with the Divine
Boy prays to crucified Jesus. Signed P. Montarallo, Oil on metal, 4.75 x 6.5 inches, dated May 22, 1951.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for safety of people run over by truck. Oil on metal, 11 x 7 inches, circa 1950.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for man dragged by horse over tumultuous river. Oil on tin, 14 x 10 inches, dated 1920.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for man being ground into hamburger by giant gear-like wheel. Oil on wood, 11 x 13.75 inches, dated 1881.


Communicating with the Divine
Couple prays to Black Jesus, "Cristo Negro." Oil on tin, 8 x 12 inches, circa 1940.


Communicating with the Divine
Man see's himself free after being falsely arrested. Oil on tin, 7 x 10 inches, dated 1923.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto of woman praying and giving thanks to NS de los Lagos. Oil on tin, 7 x 10 inches, no date.


Communicating with the Divine
Prayer for boy to recover from operation. Oil on tin, 13.5 x 10.5 inches, dated 1969.


Communicating with the Divine
Brazilian Ex-voto carving of leg and foot, begging for cure to unknown problem. Wood, 10.5 x 9.5 inches, circa 1950.


Communicating with the Divine
Ex-voto giving thanks to 'El Señor de la Piedad.' The petitioner, having become gravely ill, and with pain, venerated the Cristo and was cured. Oil on tin, 10 x 7 inches, dated 1850.

Posted in: Accidental Mysteries, Culture, Religion

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