By Darla McCammon
A few years ago, John and I stood in awe at the massive Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. We were so fortunate to see it in all its majesty and glory before the painful event happened. The iconic building gained worldwide attention and grief this past week when a blaze erupted and caused significant damage. The sorrow around Paris was magnified as we all watched the unthinkable: the fire toppled the gorgeous spire that had reigned over Paris for hundreds of years. The photo shows Notre Dame as we were able to see it before the fire.
The Cathedral is in the center of Paris on an island surrounded by water, but the water couldn’t save it. The firefighters did not have the power to reach the highest points and were helpless against the raging heights above them. We watched our television sets aghast at this conflagration. How much precious art and sculpture and magnificent organ and stained glass could be saved, I wondered, while I remained fixated on the various news stories covering this catastrophe. Wasn’t this a stone structure? If so, how could it burn so fiercely? You probably had many of the same questions. We are going to spend a little time and talk about this building in Paris with a website that claims 500,000 members.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is 850 years old. Religious preferences aside, it is one of the world’s most popular and famous tourist attractions. Much sculpture, artwork, unbelievable stained glass, historic relics such as the crown of thorns placed excruciatingly on the head of Jesus, and even a piece of the cross on which Christ was crucified have been archived within the shelter of Notre Dame.
The church has been famous because of its unusual and, at the time, innovative architecture. It was fascinating to count the innumerable gargoyles and bell towers that adorned the outside. The French Gothic architecture was begun in 1163 and finished in 1345, but there have been renovations and maintenance projects scheduled on a regular basis. In fact, Notre Dame was undergoing a large project in the upper levels at the time of the fire. The eerie silhouette of the scaffolding stood out against the flames as the wooden beams, each made of a complete tree, burned.
The island, called the “Ile de la Cite,” was once the center of Lutetia, a medieval city (some remains of which are still held in honor within the cathedral.) Today the Seine River still circles the island as it meanders through France and Paris. Many bridges connect the island to the rest of Paris.
We will continue the story of Notre Dame next week.
Upcoming and Current Events
- The Dean Jansen photography exhibit will be on display at Warsaw City Hall through May 31.
- The Wagon Wheel Salon will feature Al Disbro’s “Our Town” photography exhibit through April 29. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is no charge except during show performances.
- The Gallery at Rua will display the RedBird Studio art exhibit through May 19. Cardinal Services proudly displays some incredible art work under mentor Timothy Young.
- The Honeywell Center Clark Gallery will display fabric collages by Joel Fremion from April 26 to June 3.
- Lakeland Art Association is holding a spring art competition. Pick up entry forms at the gallery. Call (574) 267-5568 for details. Paintings will be accepted at 302 E. Winona Ave. from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 28.