Pligget
Little to say for myself


Sunday, June 29, 2003

Albi Cathedral

 
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I did a stint of work in Toulouse recently. As is often the case with such trips, I only had one day off while I was there, so I made the most of it. I went to Albi to re-live my first visit a few years back. The main attraction is the extraordinary Saint C├ęcile's Cathedral, although the Toulouse Lautrec Museum is also worth the trip.

The cathedral is the most amazing place. From the outside it looks like a huge gothic grain silo - acres of featureless fuck-off brickwork. But step from the intense heat and sunlight into the cavernous cool, and as your eyes accustom to the gloom you are met with the most dazzling and beautiful sight. Every square inch of the interior is painted with the most amazing scenes and patterns of every colour. Apparently the painting was done by Italians almost exactly 500 years ago, and has never been restored. Some of it, particularly the vaulted ceiling, looks much more recent (the colours are so vibrant), presumably because it's never been exposed to bright light.

I took dozens of photos, but it's impossible to capture the full effect. Nevertheless, here are a few details:

The Grain Silo exterior




The interior








Mural depicting topless sunbathers using medieval sunscreen technology to prevent nipple-burn.



Presumably the bibles were added later, in more prudish times, but clearly not late enough to be at a time when the idea of conveniently-placed levitating reading matter might seem a little contrived.

It really is worth a detour if you're ever within striking distance.

posted by Plig | 21:02 |


Comments: Post a Comment
Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
archives
blogs I like
The look of this blog owes much to Mena Trott, but everything posted to it is my copyright, unless I say otherwise. If you want to use or quote any of it, please do the decent thing and let me know.