P.S. On a happier note, I recently successfully applied to renew my “Permesso di Soggiorno” (permission to stay in Italy for another year). This was only one step, but I now have an appointment with the Questura (Italian immigration police) in January. So, I can legally spend the holidays here and am already painting on several things and happy about it.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Bone Crypt of Friars Cappuccini Rome Italy
Cari Amici (Dear Friends),
Back in the summer of 2009, I visited Austria and wrote about the Beinhaus (The Bone House) in a Gothic church in Hallstatt.
In my recent trip to Roma, my friends and I visited the Museo Frati Cappuccini described in my last post. Once you get past all of the traditional museum stuff, you enter . . . La Cripta dei Cappuccini aka Cripta Ossario (bone crypt).
I was asked by my Austrian friend years ago not to take photos inside the Beinhaus out of respect for the dead, but that seems different from staff trying to sell postcard images, so I share with you a few snapshots I snuck of this amazing way to … honor the dead. If you can step back about the subject matter for just a moment, think abstractly, and take in the shapes, I hope you will see that there is a grace and elegance to the lace-like designs.
I find that the scientific and curious part of my brain takes over in situations like this. I am not sure that I think it is offensive to arrange bones in any manner once people are dead (or to photograph such artistic compositions). Unless, of course, you killed them. I am not convinced that we need our bodies after death. I suspect that our energy “simply” changes. In any event, I doubt we need our body parts after death and I tend to think it is more important for those that go on living to express their grief and love in a way that comforts them and acknowledges cherished memories of another. And I am not sure what the answer is to the question of how one arrives at obtaining clean bones for such cryptic compositions.
Also, I am fascinated continually by the design of our bodies. Our bones are very specific shapes even when they vary for individuality. They curve for engineering purposes and are relatively strong; yet lightweight for the tasks they have been given. I find it fascinating to see bones arranged into delicate shapes and patterns that are aesthetically lovely. I believe that those who are responsible for creating this crypt of bones did so out of a deep-felt passion and love.