Today, Thames & Hudson publishes Paul Koudounaris’ Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs. These skeletons were installed by the Catholic church in towns across Europe after an outbreak of literal iconoclasm (i.e., destruction of religious art) in the 16th century. The Church knew that most of the skeletons, which it dug up from the catacombs under Rome, weren’t actually saints, but for, you know, a 16th-century version of fun, each one was decorated as though it were. Koudounaris set out a few years ago to photograph all the “catacomb saints” still kicking around. Which leaves us with this beautiful collection of images of jewel-draped bones, just in time for Halloween. Or, you know, your adult goth mood board on Pinterest.
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