The Cartelami paintings of Laigueglia
Scenes for the Church of Saint Matthew
Printed Edition


Scholars define the cartelamias evanescent, a scientific description that refers to the constructive techniques of the works and to the poverty and to the fragility of the materials used (cardboard, wood, tin and canvas) and thus to their lack of resistance to the passing of time.

The significance of this particular tradition – so important in Laigueglia and in several other areas of Liguria – is anything but “fleeting”: it shows how such works of art are able to intensify our faith, a faith that is practised and experienced in pure simplicity.
The creativity, the care and the effort of those who created cartelami, are the evidence of a faith that is both essential as it is deep, far from intellectual pretentious yet rich in expression and imbued with the fundamental truths of the Church’s teaching, a Church with a history that stretches back for one thousand years in time.

That was why we considered it important to give value and esteem back to these works. Not only to make the most of a precious opportunity to bring back to life our artistic heritage or to pay tribute to our fathers who created these works of art almost two hundred years ago, but also to revive this story of faith, of dedication, of entrustment, of compassion and of communion. A legacy in which mankind’s finest virtues are reflected and in which his deepest and most positive resources are highlighted. Protecting and cultivating such virtues and resources will help ensure futures that are inspired by all that’s good.

For these reasons I would like to thank all those who have contributed in restoring, exhibiting and informing us about the cartelami: people who are worthy of the Church and our society.

I would like to thank, in particular, my friend Guido Wannenes who has enabled us to publish this book. In the “Sepolcro istoriato” of San Matteo we contemplate the ineffable mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The power of the representation provokes our collective hearts and helps us enter into the Easter Triduum, into the very drama of those days in Jerusalem.

I wish all those who enter into our church to experience its beauty and to contemplate the Beauty that is our Saviour: God is Man, God who remembered his people, God who is near each and everyone of us.

Don Danilo Galliani
High Priest of Laigueglia

The Cartelami paintings of Laigueglia