The exhibition
An exhibition that highlights the outcome of the latest renovation, making it accessible and offering an interpretation of this little­known heritage.
Tales of land, water and Sky
The "ex-­voto" paintings from the Ossuccio Sanctuary
Curated by Cecilia De Carli and Grazia Massone

May 8th – July 20th 2014

Museo Antiquarium and Church of S. Mary Magdalene
Via Somalvico, Ossuccio-Tremezzina

Free entry
Infos: Antiquarium Isola Comacina 0344 56369

Foto: Marta Carenzi

The goals of the exhibition

This exhibition was conceived to present the local community and the wider public with the results of the restoration works of a portion of the Corpus of the ex­votos. The paintings on display render a tale of centuries of popular devotion, sincere religiosity and local tradition. These paintings depict tales of faith, conveying at the same time precious expressions of the cultural tradition and mores of the land of the Lake, the daily toils, and journeys; a reflection of the century­old devotion to the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Succour), in which today's pilgrims may find a trace of their ancestors. The recent restoration by Martino Mascherpa has brought to light the pictorial quality of these paintings.

Ever since the XVIth Century the Sanctuary of Ossuccio has received and preserved a notable corpus of ex-­votos, narrating trivial as well as important episodes of the lives of men and women who, in their moment of need, invoked the protection of Our Lady of Succour. Each painting tells a very personal tale, whose urgency is difficult to understand until we empathise with the human experience of the narrator, who enshrines the memory of the miraculous event regarding him through the painter's brush. The exhibition renders a cross section of the life of people who, throughout the centuries, have always looked at everyday life and personal histories as part of a providential design. Wherever they came from, whichever their social status, they were united in the brotherhood of faith. The petty stories of merchants and travellers escaping nature's perils mix with greater historical events, as in the case of the nobleman giving thanks for having survived the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. It is interesting to note the quantity of ex­votos referring to miracles that occurred in Germany and Switzerland, giving us the measure of the international relations (through commerce, mainly) that the people of the Lake have held throughout the centuries.
Historical and iconographic research:
Grazia Massone
Project and executive graphics:

23Bassi Manifattura di Idee
Chiara Frigerio
Andrea Roscini
Elena Bocchini
Martina Spinelli


A4Adesign srl

A gallery of images from the exhibition. here

Nearby excursions:
In the immediate surroundings of the exhibition site, the Municipality of Ossuccio has devised the Cultural Complex of Comacina Island, including the Island and the Archeological Museum Antiquarium, set on the mainland in Ossuccio, close to the church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose famous bell­tower is today the symbol of the Lake of Como. It is possible to visit them checking out the busy calendar of events on the Isola Comacina website.