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Examination at the Faculty of Medicine - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. 65x81
The exam at the Faculty of Medicine portrayed the defense of a doctoral dissertation by cousin Toulouse-Lautrec, Gabriel Tapier de Seleiran. The artist was not present at this event, since at that moment he was undergoing a course of treatment. He very difficult to endure a hospital stay in Neuilly, which seemed to him a real confinement. He was constantly monitored to prevent the possibility of drinking alcohol ...
This dramatic experience to some extent explains the atmosphere that fills the picture: it resembles a court, not an exam. This is Lautrec's last great work. The palette is gloomy and dark, black dominates. The dark clothing of the members of the examination committee emphasizes the hopeless atmosphere prevailing in the room. Only a horizontal window transmits pale light. An additional light source is a white sheet of paper lying on the table. Here we are faced with a very densely applied paint, which is rarely found in the artist's previous works.
Lautrec writes with pasty paint, smoothing the meaning of the contour. There are no winding lines and clear forms characteristic of his work. Dark planes determine the composition of the picture. There is something heavy and oppressive in it. Apparently, the feeling of approaching the end of life explains the artist’s need to turn to the experience of old masters. The exam at the medical faculty recalls in its mood the late Rembrandt (1606-1669), Goya (1746-1828). Lautrec never concealed his admiration for the great masters, and this picture - a kind of testament - puts him on a par with them.