More about A Review at the Faculty of Medicine, Paris
Sure, it feels a little depressing, but you'd be in the dumps too if you were Lautrec.
The guy was on his last, oh-so-adorably short legs. His ailments did lead doctors to a syndrome named after him, but who wants that noise? That very syndrome was taking his life while he painted this piece. The end was very, very near. So near that his next work would remain unfinished. While we look at this and see an array of beards and retro reading glasses that would make Portland hipsters squeal, Lautrec saw some of his very best friends...who happened to be treating him for the disease that would take his life just a few months later. All the while, he's also going to his studio every day to make decisions on his legacy. Life was raining down on Lautrec, hard and without relief.
Dude in red is Dr. Würtz. Mustache guy is another doctor. The rube with flushed cheeks is Dr. Gabriel Tapié de Céleyran, Lautrec's cousin and BFF. Lautrec was painting this as a gift to Dr. Würtz, and ended up going down memory lane. It turned into a nod to the time Würtz lead the oral exam that put the MD on Gabriel's business cards. That's why he looks nervous as hell. The painting started out as a typical Lautrec, an absinthe-bathed party bus careening straight towards the best bar in town. Or, as much fun as a nervous student sitting for a pop quiz with their professor can be. But looking at the folks he at once adored and knew were failing to save his life put a damper on the whole experience, and the result is decidedly less lively than most of Lautrec's other works.
Every students' worst nightmare, an oral exam by the thoroughly intimidating Professor.
It is one of Lautrec’s last paintings. He died within the year, at 36.
The professor's martial posture is meant to scare the crap out of students, but most worrisome are his heavy hands. And judging from the student’s right hand, Lautrec's absolute mastery of the human face did not extend to human extremities.