Catacombs, Convento dei Cappucini, Palermo

Eugenio Interguglielmi Italian
Photography Studio Eugenio Interguglielmi & Company Italian

Not on view

More than eight thousand embalmed corpses line the walls of the capuchin convent in Palermo, Sicily. They are organized by gender, age, and even profession, according to the same class and social hierarchies that shaped their lives. Here a blinding light shines on rows of clergy adorned in their finest vestments, bringing the spectacle of death to life. The crypt was already a popular tourist destination in the nineteenth century, and photographs like this one offered visitors a macabre souvenir of what a contemporaneous guidebook described as "truly disgusting."

Catacombs, Convento dei Cappucini, Palermo, Eugenio Interguglielmi (Italian, Palermo 1850–1911 Palermo), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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