Bernard Palissy

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Bernard Palissy
Clay sculpture

Bernard Palissy (* 1510 in Lacapelle-Biron near Agen ; † 1589 or 1590 in the Bastille of Paris ) was a French scientist , famous enamel artist and co-founder of the Protestant community of Saintes .


Bernard Palissy was born near Agen . Nothing is known about the family, except the assumption that the father was probably not a potter, as is concluded from a written statement by Palissy. The year of birth is contradictory documented. In the meantime it has been agreed to use his information 1510 as the correct one.

He learned stained glass and eventually settled in Saintes near La Rochelle . For 16 years he directed experiments aimed at producing an entirely white enamel paint for decorative purposes. As an exploratory spirit of the Renaissance , for him experiment came before theory. He was also a chemist , geologist and alchemist . According to his report, he sacrificed almost everything for this - so he burned his furniture to keep the stove burning. His enamelled pots and clay sculptures won him the favor of Anne de Montmorency, Duke and Connétable of France , who freed him from prison in Bordeaux (1562), where he was on charges of being a Huguenot priest. When he came to Paris, Catherine de Medici took him under her protection and commissioned him with the beautification of the Tuileries Gardens , where he built a grotto and richly decorated it. He received the title of “inventor of the rural figures of the king” (“inventeur des rustiques figulines du roy”). In 1572 he escaped the carnage on Bartholomew's Night and sought refuge in Sedan . In 1575 he returned to Paris and gave public lectures on his research and observations. After the Edict of Nemours in 1585, he had to go into hiding in 1587, but was picked up by the Catholic League and imprisoned in the Bastille because he refused to renounce. He died there in 1589.

Palissy is the namesake of Base Palissy , a database of the French Ministry of Culture for movable cultural goods in France.


  • Ernest Dupuy: Bernard Palissy. L'homme, l'artiste, le savant, l'écrivain. Nouvelle édition revue et augmentée. Société française d'imprimerie et de librairie. Paris 1902; Slatkine reprints, Geneva 1970.
  • Alexander Bruno Hanschmann: Bernard Palissy, the artist, naturalist and writer as the father of the inductive scientific method of the Bacon of Verulam. Dieterich, Leipzig 1903 ( digitized version ).
  • Marguerite Boudon-Duaner: Bernard Palissy, le potier du roi. La Cause, Paris 1989, ISBN 2-87657-004-1 .
  • Andrea Klier: Fixed nature. Natural cast and effigies in the 16th century. Reimer, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-496-01298-6 .

Web links

Commons : Bernard Palissy  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Alexander Bruno Hanschmann: Bernhard Palissy, the artist, natural scientist and writer . Leipzig 1903, pp. 29-31.
  2. Frank Lestringant: Le jardin, notre double - sagesse et déraison; Le jardin des origines: Palissy et du Bartas . In: Hervé Brunon (Ed.): Collection Mutations . No. 184 . Éditions Autrement, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-86260-865-3 , pp. 101-123 .