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 cultic culture.
Fredrika H. Jacobs is Professor Emerita of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of Defining the Renaissance 'Virtuosa': Women Artists and the Language of Art History and Criticism (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and The Living Image in Renaissance Art (Cambridge University Press, 2005). She has contributed numerous essays to a variety of books dealing with gender, aesthetics and popular culture in the Renaissance. Her work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and anthologies, including Renaissance Quarterly, The Art Bulletin, and Word and Image.
1. Dialogues of devotion: an introduction; 2. Tavolette votive: form, function, context; 3. Determining functional value: attestations of fact and faith; 4. Narrative modes; 5. Signs of faith, signs of superstition.