POST MORTEM: Carlos Areces’ Collection of Post Mortem Photography – Live from Europe

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

June 3, 2021 • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


The Victorian Era had its share of unusual traditions surrounding death: fashioning your loved one’s hair into wreathes and jewelry, plaster death masks, and Spiritualist seances. One of the most prevalent – and heartbreaking – is the post-mortem photograph. The bereaved would often stage elaborate photographs of the dearly departed’s corpse, thereby creating a family keepsake. Famed Spanish actor Carlos Areces has been scouring antique shops, markets, and estates for these curios, amassing one of the world’s finest collections of post-mortem photography. With photographs drawn from 15 nations, Areces’ treasure trove of post-mortem images has been gathered into a stunning art volume that is beautiful, haunting, and disturbing.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is delighted to present Dr. Virginia de la Cruz Lichet of the University of Lorraine in France, one of Europe’s foremost experts on post-mortem photography and the author of POST MORTEM, and Cecilia Casas Desantes of the Communications and Educational Department of Cerralbo Museum in Madrid, Spain. In addition to a live translator, the speakers will be joined in conversation by The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Assistant Curator Mallory Howard.

This lunchtime event is a FREE virtual program, but donations will be gratefully accepted. REGISTER HERE.

POST MORTEM: Collectio Carlos Areces is a strictly limited edition, high-quality art book. It is unavailable through stores, but can be ordered by visiting

The Mark Twain House & Museum would like to thank Carlos Areces and Fernando Martín of Titilante Ediciones for making this special event happen.



Virginia de la Cruz Lichet (Chartres, 1978) is a tenured professor at the University of Lorraine and a member of the Centre de recherche Ecritures (Universitè de Lorraine, France). Considered the main European expert in post-mortem photography, she has a PhD in History of Art from the Complutense University of Madrid (2010), and her thesis is entitled Post-mortem photographic portraits in Galicia: 19th and 20th Centuries. Her research focuses on the role of art and photography in the processes of mourning and the cult of memory, both through the photography of the deceased —from the 19th century to the present day— as well as through more contemporary art. Some of her most prominent publications include: Portraits and death (Madrid: Temporae, 2013); Imatges de mort; and Photographic representations of the death ritual (Valencia: Museu Valencià d’Etnología, 2017.)

With a History Degree by Salamanca University (2003) and a Cultural Management Master by Carlos III University of Madrid (2004), Cecilia Casas Desantes becomes a civil servant of Spanish Government first as curator assistant (2005) and then as curator (2015). After 16 years at Cerralbo Museum (Madrid), now she enjoys her work at the Communication and Educational department and at the same time, she manages the historical photography, prints and drawings collections of the Museum. Passionate about daily life history, 19th Century and photography as an artifact, she is the author of several articles and books, both divulgative and scientific, and has curated some temporary exhibitions. She is currently board member of ICOM-DEMHIST.


Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program, with major support from The Travelers Foundation.


June 3, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Categories: