Surviving the Flame: Notre Dame de Paris

The world stood still on Monday evening when we all watched in horror. Located on Paris’ Ile de la Cite the iconic monument that graces the cities skyline was set ablaze. The spire, originally built in the 13th century and roof were destroyed in the fire. The artistic lost in Notre Dame could have been horrific. Thankfully, the Parisian fire department and officials were able to save many of the priceless artifacts. Most notably among them the Rose windows, a trio of immense stained- glass windows, and the Crown of Thorns which the cathedral calls its “most precious and most venerated relic” were snatched from the fires grip. Also saved from serious damage were the twin bell towers and the original Great Organ.

Many of the artworks have survived the devastating fire from Monday evening. According to the New York Times, works which were evacuated during the blaze are being relocated to the Louvre. French Culture Minister Franck Riester states that many of the large paintings inside the Cathedral suffered smoke damage and perhaps also water damage. These works will move to the Musee de Louvre as well.

More than just a Cathedral

Cathedral Notre Dame De Paris

La Notre Dame de Paris, commonly known as Notre Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral. It sits on the Ile de la Cite, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Construction on this iconic cathedral began in 1160, under Bishop Maurice de Sully. Initial completion one hundred years later in the 1260s. Throughout its history – it has seen two world wars, undergone several modifications, and yet it has stood tall at the center of the city. Much more than a religious house, the Notre Dame is a museum from the 13th century. It is home to priceless relics and religious artifacts from that time. It witnessed the coronation of an emperor and the focal point for visitors the world over.

The Notre Dame is more than just a cathedral. Equally, i is much more than a landmark. Taking over one hundred years to complete the Notre Dame is a physical testament of medieval ingenuity and strength. It is also a testament to the artistic quality and workmanship of that era. The Last Judgement at the main entrance of the cathedral – is a wonderful display of the artistic genius of that epoch. It is culturally significant for not only the people of France but the world over.

Artistic Loss In Notre Dame

However tragic Monday’s events were – artistic loss in Notre Dame is not new. During the 1790s French Revolution, the Notre-Dame suffered desecration. Much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. Somehow it survived.

Initially fearing that the stand out features of the church would be lost due to water and heat damage. Experts set out to inspect the building as early as Tuesday. According to Franck Riester, the building is structurally sound.

The stained glass windows of Notre-Dame, particularly the three rose windows, are among the most famous features of the cathedral.

“Stained glass, of course, is made in heat,” says Sarah Brown. She is the director of York Glaziers Trust, which preserves and restores the stained glass at York Minster. She immediately reached out her French counterparts to offer her help and support.

In addition to the stain glass windows, there is much concern for the large paintings that are throughout the cathedral. “The large paintings, at first glance, have not been affected by the fire,” says, Mr. Riester. There is very little news regarding the other items of importance that call the cathedral home.

Many artifacts were saved before the fire spread to other parts of the cathedral. The copper statues that are normally on the now collapsed spire were removed from the building a week prior. The stone vaulting that forms the ceiling of the cathedral remains largely intact. Preventing the burning timbers falling into the building below.

Officials including firefighters and police officers formed a human chain to save these objects. Removing them immediately to Paris’s city hall just to the north of the Île de la Cité.

Restoration of the Cathedral

Overwhelming support came in from around the world to help build the Notre Dame. Approximately 500 firefighters helped to battle the fire.

The restoration of the Notre Dame project will not only depend on the availability of materials but on the availability of skilled craftspeople.

The restoration will take time, effort and especially resources from the global community. The help of the world over will restore the Notre Dame to its original glory. Helping it regain its position as a monument loved the world over. Helping restore the artistic loss in Notre Dame.

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