02 January 2010
On the last day of 2009 Chintz of Darkness posted intriguing photos of Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic that contains skeletons of 40,000 to 70,000 people used as architectural decoration and furnishing. As a result of the Black Plague mass graves of bones existed in Sedlec and in the 19th century the artisan František Rint was employed to put the bones creatively in order. He was not the first to use funereal artistry. Capela dos Ossos a small chapel at the Igreja de São Francisco in Évora, Portugal is another example of macabre art. The city located in the Alentejo Province is home to a Roman Temple dedicated to the Goddess Diana. The contemplative chapel was built in the 16th century and has the warning Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos (“We bones here, for yours await”). As with the ossuary the chapel's unique design motif was the practical solution for the contents of monastic cemeteries that needed relocation. The Franciscan monks covered the walls and pillars of the chapel with skulls and bones to remind the wealthy inhabitants of the town of their own mortality. Displaying the dead is not unique to these two locations: Catacombs of the Capuchins in Palermo, St. Michan's Church, Dublin and Museo de las Momias in Guanajuato are a few other places where death is on display.
Thanks Seraph + Splendor for the inspiration!