bricks, bricks and more bricks in Albi
December 29, 2011
Albi cathedral soars above the town. Gothic and Romanesque architecture rolled into one. Pale pink to rich red – it’s bricks, bricks and more bricks – hundreds of thousands, millions of relatively light weight units enabled the construction of vaulted roofs – earlier timber roofing could not provide the span to accommodate the huge congregations that gathered following the Albigensian Crusade.
A single nave and 12 bays supported by massive buttresses – no side aisles and clutter – took 200 hundred years to complete 1282 – 1480’s. Just think about this again . . . . .
The ornate canopy porch was added in early 1500’s..
The ceiling above the chancel at the east end with light spilling from the long narrow windows. Lapis lazuli background gives great strength to the decorative surface of the vaulted ceiling. Above the nave and high altar, keystones, ogives and quarters, last suppers, fancy scroll and medallions. What dedication – what craftsmanship, what wonder!
We must admire her perfect aim,
this huntress of the winter air
whose level weapon needs no sight,
if it were not that everywhere
her game is sure, her shot is right.
The least of us could do the same.
The chalky birds or boats stand still,
reducing her conditions of chance;
air’s gallery marks identically
the narrow gallery of her glance.
The target-center in her eye
is equally her aim and will.
Time’s in her pocket, ticking loud
on one stalled second. She’ll consult
not time nor circumstance. She calls
on atmosphere for her result.
(It is this clock that later falls
in wheels and chimes of leaf and cloud.) Elizabeth Bishop The Colder the Air