The Most Beautiful Dead: Photographs of Europe’s Jeweled Skeletons

Photographer Dr. Paul Koudounaris will display his photography outside the United States for the first time in just over two weeks.

The exhibition features a selection of photographs from two of his books, Celestial Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints and Empire of the Dead: A Cultural History of Skeletons and Burial Houses. on display at Holy Trinity Church in Salford from Friday 28 March to Thursday. April 10.

Celestial records of skeletons taken from Roman catacombs in the 16th century. Considered holy relics, they were decorated by nuns with various jewels and splendid costumes and displayed as martyrs. religion in the Catholic Churches.

Despite their popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries, when they were revered as miracle workers and protectors of local communities, when doubts were raised about their authenticity, they were became an embarrassment to the churches and was hidden away.

Koudounaris gained unprecedented access to photograph some of the most secretive religious facilities in the world, and Celestial includes photos of more than 70 of these amazing skeletons.
The exhibition also includes images from The Empire of the Dead, the first illustrated history of tombs, which the London Evening Standard named one of the 10 best books of 2011.

The exhibition is part of the Humanities Meet the Dead in Public series, which includes an event at Manchester Museum discussing the human body after death and a series of walking tours around the city to explore popular culture, “The Ghosts of Cottonopolis” and the unsung heroes of the Southern Cemetery.

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