Currently reading : Four hundred year old remains of Saints skeletons ostentatiously adorned.
Thanks to the worst newspaper in the world for these other worldly photos of skeletons dug up from Roman catacombs adorned in layers upon layers of jewels. Dug up in the 16th century and installed in towns around Germany, Austria and Switzerland on order of the Vatican; these opulent remains were sent to Catholic churches and religious houses to replace the relics destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.
Ostentatious is a word that can barely even touch upon the extravagance of these adorned relics which are now to be published in a book by Art historian Paul Koudounaris who trekked down all of these skeletons. Many of these relics have never been seen before and Koudounaris had unprecedented access to them. many of them never been seen bythe public before.
Mistaken for the remains of early Christian martyrs, the morbid relics, known as the Catacomb Saints, became shrines reminding of the spiritual treasures of the afterlife.
Their display and adorned was used as symbols of the Catholic Church’s newly found strength in previously Protestant areas.
Each one was painstakingly decorated in thousands of pounds worth of gold, silver and gems by devoted followers before being displayed in church niches.
Some took up to five years to decorate and the timelessness of their glamour juxtaposed against the strangeness of their mortality brings out a bizarre but fascinating array of photographs.
The book will be published by Thames and Hudson and will be released on the 5th of October called Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs which you can pre-order here.