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Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Anglais) Relié – 9 septembre 2013

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Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs + The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses
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Descriptions du produit

Following on the success of his book The Empire of Death , which has attracted a global cult following, Paul Koudounaris brings the catacomb saints out of the darkness with this astonishing volume, which includes arresting images of more than seventy spectacular jeweled skeletons and the fascinating stories of dozens more, accompanied by rare archive material. This is the first time that some of these incredible relics both intriguing historical artifacts and masterpieces of artistic craftsmanship in their own right have appeared in a publication, with Koudounaris gaining unprecedented access to photograph in some of the most secretive religious establishments in Europe. This will be essential reading for goths, art historians and everyone in between.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 63 commentaires
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Gruesome Beauty 26 novembre 2013
Par Jean E. Pouliot - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There's a good chance that your average Catholic might have run into relics -- the stray skull, vertebrae or finger bones of some long-dead saint. But complete human skeletons? And dressed up in gold and silver thread, precious gems, bejeweled armor and sumptuous robes? And displayed in public for all to see?

Not so much.

In what might be a spectacle worthy of a horror movie, many of these relics, on display in churches throughout southern Germany, are documented by Paul Koudounaris in his extraordinary book, "Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs." With dozens of full-page, beautifully-composed photographs as well as accessible, well-researched prose, Koudounaris tells the story of the Katakombenheiligen or Catacomb Saints. These were the supposed skeletons of Christians martyrs spirited out of Rome's catacombs from the 1600s to the 1800s, and destined to replace precious relics destroyed during the Reformation. Whether the bones could be proven to be martyrs or even Christian mattered little; the fact that they were Roman was enough to merit a trip beyond the Alps. After their "translation," or travel from Rome, they were cleaned, assembled, dressed, bejeweled, posed and displayed in churches in the German speaking world. Since in many cases the bones came without provenance, they were often named by their new owners -- either after a popular patron of a local monastery, for some virtue (St. Fortunatus, St. Felicity) or their lack of a name (St. Incognito). These town patrons were regularly removed from their niches and paraded through town for veneration, a few even in modern times.

Koudounaris brings alive a time when gruesome displays of the dead were an aid to faith. Whether you believe in the power of relics or not, the work done to them was exquisite and startling. There's nothing like seeing a skull, with jewels placed in its eye sockets, staring back at you. Koudounaris also traces the history of the Catacomb Saints into the modern era, starting in the 1800s, when such displays were increasingly deemed tasteless, even to Catholic sensibilities. Indeed, many of the Catacomb Saints now languish behind discrete covers, or in dusty backrooms under broken furniture and other liturgical detritus.

I found the text of "Heavenly Bodies" stark, honest and unsparing but never dismissive. And that even tone helped me to inhabit the mind of those who once found such treasures to be -- not off-putting and tasteless -- but a moving testament to faith in the resurrection.
23 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
SPECTACULAR 27 septembre 2013
Par A. Ashbaugh - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is just stuffed with gobs of full color pictures of heavily, *insanely* over-decorated, bedazzled, Counter Reformation skeletonised saints. Lots of close ups, too. If you like skeletons, holy relics, sparkly things, and the baroque, then this is the book for you. It's definitely the book for me.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Heavenly Bodies is truly a fun read 27 octobre 2013
Par docmartin - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The author makes this fascinating, but relatively unstudied field surprisingly accessible to the reader. After I finished reading it, my friend's 16 year old daughter picked it up and could not put it down for hours. Beyond the substantive content, the pictures are simply amazing, and it makes for an awesome conversation piece/coffee table book.
My girlfriend is always trying to get me interested in art books, often (with the exceptional ocassion) without much sucess, mostly because of the pretentious writing that tends to seep into these types of publications. Paul Koudounaris' writing is different: not only acessible, but truly fun and entertaining, yet still informative and fascinating. I suppose one has to, when writing about the fun and the beauty in death, and I'd much rather self-educate with a smile.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beautiful 19 octobre 2013
Par Martijn - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A great book that couldn't go wrong for me as it beautifully combines 2 of my interests: photography and history. The photos are beautiful and the text is very informative. The only 'gripe' with my book is that isn't bigger! I'd love a 'jumbo' version of this book.
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unique subject, fantastic pictures 9 octobre 2013
Par RB - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Vienna, and saw a museum display of saint's finger bones covered in sumptuous fabrics, tiny gold crowns, and gems, set in fascinating vignettes. Try as I might, I couldn't find a book for sale to tell me about these displays. They've never left my mind...then a friend sent me a link to this incredible book. Wow. To finally understand the history of this work, why it was done and by whom, is just wonderful! As an artist with silversmith's training, I can only imagine the hours, weeks, months, and years it took to adorn these skeletons. For the nuns who performed this work, it was the ultimate devotion to their faith. While I've never had that kind of faith, I can imagine and deeply respect the way people truly lived their God every day, in all the tasks of their days. God wasn't something they practiced on a Sunday; instead, they lived in the present, with their faith beside them. And I know that for millions of poor, suffering people, this was the only love, warmth, and safety in their lives. So while I am not a church person--hey I've never even been baptized!--I so respect the church in all of its failings, for giving that to those folks. This book provides a glimpse into the devotion of people who served their God every day of their lives. Some may find the subject dress and adorn skeletons. I think it's lovely and moving. The only criticism I can make of this book is that a larger size would have been awesome. However, that would have pushed the price out of many folks' range, and that would really be a shame. This book is worth the money!
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