Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paul Koudounaris — Heavenly Bodies (2013)

These images are from the book Heavenly Bodies by photographer Paul Koudounaris. You can buy his book here. You can view more of the work of this photographer of the morbid on Empire de la Mort.

In 1578 news came of the discovery in Rome of a labyrinth of underground tombs, which were thought to hold the remains of thousands of early Christian martyrs. Skeletons of these supposed saints were subsequently sent to Catholic churches and religious houses in German-speaking Europe to replace holy relics that had been destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. The skeletons, known as “the catacomb saints,” were carefully reassembled, richly dressed in fantastic costumes, wigs, crowns, jewels, and armor, and posed in elaborate displays inside churches and shrines as reminders to the faithful of the heavenly treasures that awaited them after death.