Medicines, Woad , Dyestuffs and Back Again
In the 15-16C , the vast majority of people were illiterate and so signs on shops were illustrative of the trade housed within. Making powders was a major part of medical compounding, hence the mortar and pestle repeatedly displayed on the ancient pharmacy sign. The pharma(cist)s also were adept at drying plants, extracting their essences and making solutions from powders. The expansion of scale was a challenge that was also rewarding. All of this was within the scope of "understanding" the 4 elements of matter: earth, air, water and fire. The procedures derived from them to release the essences from the matter. A "Materia medica" was the guide to the essences and their preparation so that a physician could treat illness. Thus a "pharma" was familiar with the processing of woad to produce indigo and could become rich. Ironically in the 19C, after the advent of the scientific-industrial revolution, the understanding of the chemistry of coal-tar, in Germany , led to the synthesis of aniline and a vigorous synthetic dye industry. This led to the discovery of the first synthetic therapeutic agent, Aspirin (by Fabriken Bayer). Most of the early pharmaceutical giants were in the dye business. Reality stumbles after history.
St.-Salvi: Examine the Cloister Capitals
The capitals of the cloister are worn but some still show the skill and vigor with which they were shaped. How far sculpture had come in 200 years (mid 13C). Two that we show are Romanesque and figurated, and one is Gothic and foliated.
Musée Toulouse Lautrec
“Aaaah, what a daubing!” exclaimed a woman next to me when discovering a Kandinsky in a museum in . . . . . Well, Toulouse Lautrec who, by far, is not in my painter’s pantheon, can certainly not be considered as a dauber, and I have to admit his lithographic works are very expressive and precise, they really transmit a message, and even just a publicity for bike chains (first picture) is just more than publicity; and, . . imagine, Toulouse Lautrec was almost a cripple and he probably never biked. . . . . . but his particular drawing carries what has to be transmitted (like the muscle power via the chain. . . . ) with a very personal style made of very sober lines and special perspective compositions. Stop, I am not an art critic, I just write what some paints inspire me and keep heart, eyes and brain open, like when on high mountain trails or deeply immersed in popular districts of big cities . . . and certainly see a difference between a daubing and an artwork, even the latter is not the style I like the most. . . .
The Toulouse Lautrec museum, hosting more than 1000 of his works is of course one of the most important places to visit in Albi, for the paints and also for the Palais de la Berbie and the gothic brick vaults of the rooms (picture 2). Some of Toulouse Lautrec’s major works are not here, but all the works displayed here give a comprehensive overview about this important artist.
Don’t forget to look at the yard inside the fortress (not accessible when I visited) (picture 3)
On the ground level, three main rooms are dedicated to three themes:
Youth works and Toulouse Lautrec painted by his friends;
Lithographs are exposed in a wide spacious room in the lower level (-1)
Temporary exhibitions can be seen in (-2) level room.
Ah! Normally, photographs are not allowed in the museum!
Entrance : 5 Euros. Closed Tuesdays.