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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1812
Roccella M. 1, Lo Balbo B. 2
1 Università degli Studi - Palermo, Cattedra di Neuropsichiatria Infantile, Dipartimento di Psicologia;
2 Università degli Studi - Palermo, Facoltà di Architettura, Istituto di Disegno Industriale
Like every other cultural factor, painted ex-voto can be studied from different points of view; they offer very interesting elements to locate those processes operating in the lower classes culture establishment. Among the many represented subjects, illness holds a prominent position. This paper is the result of a study carried out on 387 small votive pictures from Our Lady of Altavilla Milicia (Palermo). Afterwards, among all the ex-voto portraying diseases, the group with neurological and psychiatric subjects was picked out and analysed. Only two of the several ex-voto representing a neuropsychiatric disease show a neurological pathology: a woman suffering from thrombosis and a paralytic adolescent. In any way, the representation of a diabolic possession does not exclude it could concern epilepsy or hysterics. The ex-voto portrays the expression of a local popular culture and it is a valid contribution to go deep into the relationships between man and place, community and environment. So, a small votive picture can be seen both as an everyday history document and as a way of communication used in order to convey stories of dramatic events, social troubles and outsiders.