This painting has a 'votive' function: it was painted to fulfil a vow. It shows a man walking past a delicatessen in Rome and being hit on the head by a falling flowerpot. As he regains his senses, he immediately turns his mind to the Virgin in the form of the statue known as the 'Madonna del Parto', which is depicted above him in the painting. He vows that if he survives this accident, he will have a votive picture of the scene painted, and will dedicate it to the 'Madonna del Parto' by having the picture placed in the same chapel as the statue, in the church of Sant'Agostino in Rome. The existence of the painting is evidence that he did recover from the accident. It is one of several votive or 'ex voto' paintings acquired by Henry S. Wellcome from Italy, Spain, France and elsewhere.
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