Rosalia Lombardo

Careless was my thought that today would be simple, I had a promised set about photographing a halved pigs heart.  Now for the record I am solely absurdly and somewhat morbidly ( for want of a better word ) obsessed with preservation and elevation……simply in the unliving.  Now to casually be introduced to the beautiful Rosalia was an addition to an already fruitful day of practice, in addition the photography was to die for, although I did smash my mirror, appropriately after I finished!

This little preserved princess dubbed “sleeping beauty” resides in the famous catacombs capuchin-Palermo Sicily.  Records indicate her birth in 1918, and death in 1920, aged two thought to be pneumonia .  Her father bereft and confused, healed his broken heart with the help of renowned embalmer of the era ALFERDO SALIFIA.  Now the interest in her is strnog for me yet my pull resides with the techniques whys and wherefores of the practice of embalming and how such a fete of public audience commands.  The subject seems to be sleeping, perfectly preserved and outliving her fathers grief and generations to come……so the question again remains, do we preserve to elevate? There does not appear to be any other explanation to deem worthy, why on earth would we preserve anything if not to elevate its presence? To have a memory is no enough for some, and a god given right for others.

the catacombs can be viewed in Sicily and are somewhat a popular tourist attraction…….I just hope that in preserving her in grief, General Lombardo understands the depth in which he changed her purpose in life, as one in love the hardest thing is letting go, and the princess will continue to sleep as long as the masses deem her aesthetics fodder.


the life of professor ALFREDO SALAFIA  can be found freely on the web and makes for interesting reading although I’m going to cover himself and others alike.

i leave you with this……IS PRESERVATION ELEVATION? Or do we elevate to preserve?

Bear x


One thought on “Rosalia Lombardo

  1. Tom Conoboy says:

    Bear, perhaps the question is one of intent: when you undertake the act of preservation, what is your intention? Was Alfredo Salafia’s intention, when he embalmed his dead child, to preserve that child for himself, or for future generations? The effect of his act has been the latter, but his intention might have been the former. In truth, it is likely he would be appalled to think that his daughter was now a tourist attraction in Sicily.

    There was a TV programme last week about Tutankhamun. In it, the presented put forward a theory that the Pharoah’s servant took advantage of his early death to advance himself into a position of authority. And he swapped his death chamber with that of Tutankhamun. There is a lot of evidence for this: Tutankhamun’s tomb is far too small for such an important pharoah, and all his goods were piled about roughly. His sarcophagus was too big to get in the room and they had to chop away part of the door frame to get it in. The servant’s chamber, meanwhile, was far larger than you would expect for someone of that rank. The programme suggested that the servant wanted to raise himself to the rank of pharoah and therefore be remembered for all time. The great irony of all this is that, because Tutankhamun’s body and goods were transferred to where they are, they remained undiscovered for 3000 years and Tutankhamun is now the most famous Egyptian pharoah of all, while the servant is forgotten.

    This servant sought to elevate through preservation, but failed.Alfredo Salafia, on the other hand, didn’t particularly seek to elevate through preservation, but it has happened anyway.Or perhaps he actually did seek to elevate his child, but only for himself?

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