Infinitas Gracias: Mexican Miracle Paintings

  • Exhibition
Photograph of a man looking at a wall of colourful Mexican votives, part of the exhibition Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings at Wellcome Collection.
Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings exhibition, Benjamin Gilbert. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Mexican votives are small paintings, often executed on tin roof tiles or small plaques, depicting the moment of human appeal for delivery from disaster.

Usually commissioned from local artists, they tell intensely personal stories through which a markedly human history of communities and their culture can be read. Through news reports, photographs, devotional artefacts, film and interviews, this exhibition revealed the depth of votive tradition in Mexico.

Its contemporary legacy was illustrated by modern-day offerings from a Guanajuato church: a paper shower of letters, certificates, photographs, clothing and flowers. The continuing influence of these vernacular paintings is seen in the work of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, who were avid collectors.

This exhibition was shown alongside ‘Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects‘, as part of Miracles & Charms.