Heavenly Bodies – Jeweled Sacred Skeletons of the 16th Century.
With Dr. Paul Koudounaris
16th September 2013, 7 pm
Ticket price £7
“Dr. Paul Koudounaris (author of the goth cult classic Empire of Death, the first study of bone-decorated religious sanctuaries) presents a talk with slide show on his new volume, Heavenly Bodies, the story of skeletons discovered in the Roman Catacombs in the late sixteenth century. Largely anonymous, they were nevertheless held to be the remains of Early Christian martyrs, and treated as sacred. Sent to Catholic churches and religious houses in German-speaking Europe to replace holy relics that had been destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the skeletons were carefully reassembled and richly adorned in jewels and precious costumes by teams of nuns. Intended as flamboyant devotional items, they also turned out to be the finest works of art ever created in human bone. Once part of the spiritual life of many people, as time passed the faith in these sumptuously decorated skeletons wavered, and they were cast out during the Enlightenment as remnants of a superstitious and embarrassing Catholic past. Largely forgotten in the annals of religious history, Dr. Koudounaris gained unprecedented access to religious institutions where the surviving decorated skeletons are held. His photographs are the first that were ever taken of many of them, and the images which will accompany his lecture are bizarre, moving, and beautiful.”
Due for publication in October 2013, this will be the first opportunity to purchase this book anywhere!
Dr Paul Koudounaris
Dr Paul Koudounaris is an author and photographer from Los Angeles. His charnel house and ossuary research and photos have made him a well-known figure in the field of macabre art, and he is a leading expert in the history of bone-decorated shrines and religious structures.
In 2004 Dr Koudounaris obtained a PhD in Art History from UCLA, with a specialty in Baroque-era Northern European Art.
After the publication of The Empire of Death, he became a popular guest on radio and television shows internationally, including BBC London, News Talk Ireland, NPR, and Oddities (TV series), discussing the religious use of human remains, and other topics related to the history of macabre art.
The Last Tuesday Society is honoured to house this exhibition and lecture series cultivated in collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein of the rightfully venerated 'Morbid Anatomy' Library, Museum & Blog.
Talks take place at The Last Tuesday Society at 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP - please click here to buy tickets