Paul Koudounaris' "Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs" is perfectly timed for Halloween. Buried in lavish crowns, jewels and cloth, these ornately decorated Saints were dug up from the catacombs of Rome in the 16th century. Five hundred or so years later, Koudounaris has brought them back to life. Well, sort of.
Once uncovered from the catacombs, the skeletons were then placed in Catholic churches as a reminder of the riches and wealth that awaited them in the afterlife.
Art historian and photographer Paul Koudounaris traveled all throughout Europe searching for the jeweled saints.
Koudounaris found that many of these finely decorated bodies had not been displayed, but were being stored in containers waiting to be dressed.
Beyond Koudounaris' "Heavenly Bodies" project, the photographer is well known in the macabre art circle for his work featuring ossuaries — the final resting place of human skeletal remains.
In 2011, Koudounaris published "The Empire of Death," filled with photographs of ossuaries from around the world.
Following the release of "The Empire of Death," Koudounaris launched his radio career with BBC London and NPR, discussing the use of human remains for religious purposes.
After the release of "Heavenly Bodies," Koudounaris was dubbed "Indiana Bones."
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