In the late fifteenth century, votive panel paintings, or tavolette
votive, began to accumulate around reliquary shrines and
miracle-working images throughout Italy. Although often dismissed
as popular art of little aesthetic consequence, more than 1,500
panels from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are extant, a
testimony to their ubiquity and importance in religious practice.
Humble in both their materiality and style, they represent donors
in prayer and supplicants petitioning a saint at a dramatic moment
of crisis. In this book, Fredrika H. Jacobs traces the origins and
development of the use of votive panels in this period. She
examines the form, context, and functional value of votive panels,
and considers how they created meaning for the person who dedicated
them as well as how they accrued meaning in relationship to other
images and objects within a sacred space activated by practices of
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