M978.66 | Sculpture
1875-1900, 19th century or 20th century
44 x 34.2 x 18 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: sculpture (112) , Sculpture (113)
Keys to History
This sculpture of the Sacred Heart is an ex voto. It was most likely created by a non-professional artist and placed in a church as a token of thanks for blessings.
The devotion to the physical heart of Jesus, or the Sacred Heart, became one of the most popular Roman Catholic devotions after the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alocoque in 1673-1675. The main features of the devotion are Holy Communion, held on the first Friday of each month; the Holy Hour, celebrated on Thursdays; and the Feast of the Sacred Heart, celebrated on the Friday in the week after Corpus Christi.
The painted heart is carved from a block of pine and is pierced diagonally with an iron spear.
This hand-carved wooden Sacred Heart was probably carved for use at home. It is an example of folk art.
The heart was carved in the last quarter of the 19th century, a time when clergy members urged Roman Catholics to engage in private devotions in their homes.
Like most items today recognized as folk art, this one has no signature or marking identifying its maker.