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Notre Dame is Burning, Spire Collapses, All is Not Lost – It Never Was – Notre Dame Has Always Survived.

Notre Dame is Burning

April 16, 2019

April 15, 2019. Hundreds of videos, and pictures document the horror of the fire at Notre Dame, Paris.


April 15, 2019. “French officials say it appears the facades and bell towers and flying buttresses and much of the rest of the building’s general structure have been saved.” Numerous media outlets report on “What’s Been Saved and What’s Been Lost in the Notre Dame Fire.”

The Cathedral Through Time

The cathedral as constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries, and has undergone many changes and major restorations. “In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged some of the statues of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous. During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the cathedral underwent numerous alterations to comply with the more classical style of the period. The sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from 1413, was destroyed. ”

“In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west façade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded. Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby, and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. For a time the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.[ The cathedral’s great bells escaped being melted down.”

“All of the other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the portal of the cloister, were destroyed.[8] The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food and other non-religious purposes.”

“In July 1801, the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, signed an agreement to restore the cathedral to the Church. It was formally transferred on 18 April 1802. “

19th-century reconstruction

“The cathedral was functioning in the early 19th century, but was half-ruined inside and battered throughout. In 1831, the novel Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame had an enormous success, and brought the cathedral new attention. In 1844 King Louis Philippe ordered that the church be restored. The commission for the restoration was won by two architects, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who was then just 31 years old.”

They supervised a large team of sculptors, glass makers and other craftsmen who remade, working from drawings or engravings, the original decoration, or, if they did not have a model, adding new elements they felt were in the spirit of the original style.”

The Spire

“The architects made a taller and more ornate reconstruction of the original spire (including a statue of Saint Thomas that resembles Viollet-le-Duc), as well as adding the sculpture of mythical creatures on the Galerie des Chimères. The restoration took twenty five years.”

Modern Restorations

The set of four 19th-century bells atop the northern towers at Notre-Dame were melted down and recast into new bronze bells in 2013, to celebrate the building’s 850th anniversary. They were designed to recreate the sound of the cathedral’s original bells from the 17th century. Despite the 1990s renovation, the cathedral had continued to show signs of deterioration that prompted the national government to propose a new renovation program in the late 2010s.[ The entire renovation was estimated to cost 100 million euros, which the Archbishop of Paris planned to raise through funds from the national government and private donations. “

All is Not Lost – It Never Was

“Notre Dame” was never lost.”During the liberation of Paris in August 1944, the cathedral suffered some minor damage from stray bullets. Some of the medieval glass was damaged, and was replaced by glass with modern abstract designs. On 26 August, a special mass was held in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Paris from the Germans; it was attended by General Charles De Gaulle and General Philippe Leclerc. “

“In 1963, on the initiative of culture minister André Malraux and to mark the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral, the facade was cleaned of the centuries of soot and grime, restoring it to its original off-white color.” (W

“A €6 million renovation of the cathedral’s spire began in late 2018 and continued into the following year, requiring the temporary removal of copper statues on the roof and other decorative elements days before the April 2019 fire.” (wikipedia).Notre Dame Will Always Live

Notre Dame Will Always Live

Now, “France has launched an international competition to re-design the spire.” (WAPO).

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Videos – Notre Dame Through The Centuries

“A daguerreotype, (below) from before this overhaul shows a building more stark than the one we know today, with no beasts perched on its towers, its medieval gargoyles having long been removed.” (MF).

H/T ArtDaily


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