Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Notre-Dame Is Burning Down

Firefighters douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. Bertrand GUAY / AFP

Special Occasion And News

Notre-Dame Is Burning Down

The world has received the very sad news that Paris’s famous Notre-Dame cathedral is burning down. Sometime on April 15, 2019, during renovations to the church, the roof and spire caught fire, which spread quickly. At the time of writing this, I really don’t know what’s going to happen – whether the building is going to survive at all, and if so in what condition. I’m really heartbroken, and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to visit this icon of Gothic architecture back in 2011.

Notre-Dame is burning down

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in happier days. Photo by Madhurantakam (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Notre-Dame de Paris (to distinguish it from all the other legions of French churches named Notre Dame in honor of the Virgin Mary) is one of the earliest Gothic churches. It was built beginning in 1163, but it wasn’t finished until the 14th century. It has all the major hallmarks of Gothic architecture, including groin vaults, pointed arches, loads of beautiful stained glass, and gargoyles. It never reached the dizzying heights of later Gothic churches like Reims, but it is still a beautiful and awe-inspiring place that means so much to the people of France and the rest of the world, too.

Notre-Dame de Paris famous all across the world, and it’s a familiar icon of both France and the Middle Ages. According to one of the news articles I read about the fire, it has been Paris’s biggest tourists attraction, even surpassing the Eiffel Tower. Its rise to fame really began in the 19th century, when it featured in Victor Hugo’s celebrated novel Notre-Dame de Paris.


It might be comforting for some readers to learn that the cathedral has survived damage before. It suffered during the French Revolution, when many of its statues and stained glass windows were destroyed because of their connection to religion and the monarchy. It also experienced years of neglect and decay after the Middle Ages, when Gothic buildings fell out of style and were largely ignored. It was in bad shape until the 19th century, when the great Gothic Revivalist Eugene Viollet-le-Duc restored the building extensively. If you have ever visited the church or seen photos of it, you may be surprised to learn that it has been reconstructed quite extensively in places. I just hope that it will be possible to reconstruct it again.

With a heavy heart,


Alexandra


Alexandra believes that enjoying the art of the past is the closest she can get to time travel, only much safer. When she’s not being an art historian, she can usually be found ice skating and dancing. Visit her at ascholarlyskater.com.

Comments

More in Special Occasion And News

  • Architecture

    In Search of the Round Table: Arthurian Wall Paintings

    By

    The Great Hall of Winchester Castle is all that remains of the Medieval castle constructed by William the Conqueror in the years following the Battle of Hastings. In the thirteenth century, Henry III built there one of the finest aisled halls. Today, adorning its west wall,...

  • dailyart

    Painting of the Week: Saint Anne

    By

    To the south of Egypt is the mysterious land of Nubia. It has a complex history due to the different states and religions that have occupied the area. The Kingdom of Nobadia was one of them. It existed from the 4th to 9th centuries CE and...

  • Bodies And Erotic Art

    Danse Macabre: Dancing with Skeletons

    By

    Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) – a weird dance between people and skeletons. You might think that it is a scene from a horror movie. But surprisingly, it is a medieval allegorical concept for the all-conquering and equalizing power of death. Ready for a story full of...

  • Art History 101

    The Pantocrator Christ Depictions

    By

    When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, the word Almighty was rendered as Pantocrator, from the Greek words pas (all) and kratos (might, power). The Pantocrator Christ is one of the most recognized depictions of Jesus, and the oldest of these comes from a 6th...

  • dailyart

    Five Translation Mistakes that Changed Art History

    By

    Why did Michelangelo portray Moses with horns? Why are there monkeys in Giulio Romano’s Chamber of Giants? And why does the Nativity scene represent Jesus with an ox and a donkey? Well, these amongst others are all mistakes caused by incorrect translations. But let’s start from...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy