How much cooler are these dead saints covered in bling than Damien Hirst’s diamond skull? The 400 year old skeletons were dressed up and decorated by churches and distributed to other churches and monasteries throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They’re each dressed as a particular saint but the skeletons didn’t necessarily belong to anyone of any great religious importance. The jewels, costumes, armor and other bling were meant to represent the heavenly treasures that awaited the faithful in death. I would much prefer my gold in this life
Art historian Paul Koudounaris put together a book of the catacomb saints called Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs. It’ll be released on the 8th of October but you can pre-order it at Amazon.
Here’s some of the fascinating jewel encrusted skeletons captured by the historian nicknamed “Indiana Bones” for obvious reasons..
Paul Koudounaris – St Benedictus
Paul Koudounaris - St Valerius in Weyarn
Paul Koudounaris - St Luciana
Paul Koudounaris - St Deodatus in Rheinau
Paul Koudounaris - St Valentinus in Waldsassen
Paul Koudounaris - St Vincentus
The Heavenly Bodies book can be found here at Amazon or find out more about Paul Koudounaris and his other projects at his Empire de la Mort website here. His previous book called The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses is just as fascinating.. if you’re fascinated in that kind of thing