The Ossuary Chapel of San Martino della Battaglia

The Ossuary chapel of San Martino della Battaglia is located in the north of Italy and is host to the remains of over one thousand soldiers who fought and died in the battle of San Martino. Originally this chapel was a chapel like any other, but in the latter half of the 19th century, bodies of soldiers (on both sides of the conflict) were exhumied from their mass graves and given promiment display in the chapel of San Martino behind and below the chapel's altar.

As is frequently the case in such chapels, the remains have been organized in a purposefully organized manner. In the image immediately above we see the lower crypt level of the chapel which is visible from behind the chapel altar, setup rather like a confessio, though in the inverse of what we usually think of.

The lower level of the chapel sees more of the soldiers mortal remains.

Some further views of the chapel:

It is also worth taking a look at the historical sanctuary arrangement of the chapel. The main differences one will note here are the usual six high altar candlesticks are in place along with their traditionally and proportionately tall candles -- something that brings better overall proportions and balance to the altar and its arrangement (particularly in relation to the very large cross). As well, one will also note the drapery which frames the altar and separates the sanctuary from the nave. 

This form of altar, while not unknown, is certainly atypical for the period, but presumably it was designed in view of maintaining a view of the crypt -- seen surrounded by an iron balustrade. 

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