Jun 13, 2008

Albi—Cathedrale Sainte-Cecile

We finally made it to Albi.
Its cathedral is one of the biggest brick construction in the world and was built over two centuries, from 1282 to 1480. The fortresslike outside and the magnificence of both the painted vaulting and the flamboyant gothic architecture of the jube are mind boggling. The 30 meter high ceilings were painted over a three year period - 1509 to 1512 - by Renaissance Italian artists from Modena and Bologna. The deep blue paint they used is so vivid it is hard to believe that those paintings have never been restored. Fortunately, the entire paintings on the walls and ceilings didn't get whitewashed at the French Revolution, as intended
The huge mural representing the Last Judgement (painted bewteen 1474 and 1484) - one of the biggest pictorial piece of its time - was partly destroyed during the 17th century and is missing its center piece. I was particularly entertained by the representation of Hell and the Devil. Right above the painting lies one of the most noteworthy organs in France. Everything about this cathedral is spectacular.

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