Monday, April 12, 2010

#197 France...Thanks Julien!

The 0.85€ stamp was issued in 2009 featuring Albi Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile d'Albi),which is the most important religious building in Albi, southern France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Albi.

The Gothic cathedral which we see today was constructed in brick between 1282 to 1480 in the wake of the Albigensian heresy and the brutal crusade which suppressed it, with great loss of life. In the aftermath of the bloodshed, the cathedral's dominant presence and fortress-like exterior were intended to convey the power and authority of the Christian faith.

The cathedral is built in the Southern Gothic Style. Notable architectural features include the bell-tower (added in 1492), which stands 78 meters tall, and the doorway by Dominique de Florence (added circa 1392).

The elaborate interior stands in stark contrast to the cathedral's military exterior. The central chœur, reserved for members of the religious order, is surrounded by a roodscreen with detailed filigree stone work and a group of polychrome statues. Below the organ, a fresco of the Last Judgement, attributed to unknown Flemish painters, originally covered nearly 200 m² (the central area was later removed). The frescoes on the enormous vaulted ceiling comprise the largest and oldest ensemble of Italian Renaissance painting in France.

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