Confronting the Inevitability of Mortality in Rome, Italy
For centuries Capuchin monks have been living and dying at Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome. For a startling reminder of the inextricable bond between life and death, try visiting a few brothers of the deceased variety. In the vaulted chambers of the crypt, the earthly remains of thousands of Capuchins adorn the walls and ceilings in arrangements of macabre artistry and undeniable power. Although most have been disassembled into their skeletal components and rearranged (the pelvises are particularly dainty), some brothers still stand in their humble vestments, flesh flaking away from their desiccated faces. In their various states of decay, the monks convey the inevitable facts of life, from the unique perspective of those who are now deprived of it, reminding visitors (the Marquis de Sade, just to name a famous one) to cherish their precious days amongst the living.