24.11.

1864: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Brilliant Painter of Unusual Appearance

1864: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Brilliant Painter of Unusual Appearance
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Photolautrec.jpg

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  • historical event: He had an adult-sized torso, while his legs were reportedly only 70 cm long. There are statements that he had unusually large genitals. It is believed that Henri’s style was influenced by his unusual appearance.

On this day in 1864 the famous French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born. He was small in stature, but a giant in his artistic talent. His origin is interesting. Namely, he was the firstborn son of French Count Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec, so he inherited his father’s title of count. It was a noble family whose origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The powerful Counts of Toulouse were some of the most powerful feudal lords in in 13th-century France. Each count bore the title of one of the 12 Peers of France, which was the highest aristocratic title in the country. During the coronation of the French kings, the Count of Toulouse traditionally had the honor of carrying the king’s spurs.

However, his aristocratic origins brought Henri misfortune as well. To be more exact, inbreeding was typical to marriages in this social class. Henri’s parents were related (Henri’s two grandmothers were sisters). It seems that this is precisely what caused his health problems. His condition is today sometimes known as “Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome”. Namely, when he was still but a boy he fractured his both thigh bones. The problem was that, after the fracture, the bones did not heal properly. Henri’s legs ceased to grow, so he reached a height of only 154 centimeters. He had an adult-sized torso, while his legs were reportedly only 70 cm long. There are statements that he had unusually large genitals.

It is believed that Henri’s style was influenced by his unusual appearance. Specifically, Count Henri often depicted human figures with unusual proportions and body shapes. Today he is considered one of the best French painters and his paintings are sold for tens of millions of dollars.

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