Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

 

I’ve been sitting on this post for a long while – by that I mean for nearly a year. Why? Because I’ve been debating whether you guys would freak about about seeing these images, or if you would be genuinely fascinated and intrigued like I am. Clearly, the latter feeling prevailed so here we are! These spectacular and creepy photos were taken by Paul Koudounaris – critically acclaimed author and photographer from Los Angeles. Koudounaris has a PhD in Art History and, following the success of his book The Empire of Death, the images you are seeing here today have been collected into his second book titled Heavenly Bodies released by Thames & Hudson in 2013.

 

Heavenly Bodies: Spectacular Catacombs Saints Photographed by Paul Koudounaris | Yellowtrace

 

Koudounaris hunted down and photographed dozens of skeletons in some of the world’s most secretive religious establishments – these remains are believed to be of early Christian martyrs, discovered in Rome in 1578 in a network of underground tombs. The bones of these “Catacomb Saints” were thereafter sent to Catholic churches throughout Europe, replacing holy relics that were destroyed during the Protestant Reformation. Reassembled by skilled artisans, the remains were encrusted with gold lace, precious jewels, wigs and rich costumes – some taking up to five years to decorate. Holy shitballs!

 


[Images courtesy of Paul Koudounaris.]

 

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