By Darla McCammon
In the country of France, the island in the Seine that was to eventually house Notre Dame Cathedral had a long history including a lengthy time of rule by the Roman Empire.
It would also hold many royal residences including the King of the Franks until Philippe Auguste in the 12th century saw to the construction of the Louvre and moved his residence to that palace. Today the Louvre is a world-famous art museum and no longer the home of a king. Thus, with no kingly presence, the island would see the construction of the building that was to become the Notre Dame that exists today. Maurice de Sully, a bishop of Paris, instigated the razing of old structures and saw to the creation of Notre Dame. Pope Alexander III was present for the laying of the first stone.
Fascinating records show details of each step of the construction over a lengthy time period. You can go to the Notre Dame of Paris website and click on the history and the architecture and take a trip through several centuries of work. Exquisite effort went into this building that is itself a work of art.
You will also learn such terms as transepts, naves, flying buttresses, facade, mosaics, baptistery, crypts, vaults, choir high altar, aisles and tribunes, towers, side chapels, and much more. It also goes into great detail about a period of restoration centuries after the initial build and their definition of that which means not to “repair or maintain” but to truly restore to “as new” condition.
Many items distinguish the artistic and historical possessions held by Notre Dame. In this year’s disastrous fire, some firefighters worked on the blaze while other first responders tried to salvage the art and the priceless possessions. Some were safely removed and others were protected and saved in place. Three of those prized items were the great organs, one of which is considered the most famous in the world. Fortunately, the organs were saved from the fire by courageous firefighters. The main great organ has five keyboards, 109 plays and nearly 8,000 pipes. The two remaining organs, the choir organ and the positive organ are no slouches when it comes to extraordinary sound either.
The three famous and magnificent stained glass rose windows were, incredibly, saved in place on three sides of the structure.
Coincidentally, only four days before the fire, for the first time in 100 years, 16 statues of the 12 apostles and four evangelists had been removed for cleaning and thus were saved. Over the years, many of the artworks had been transferred to the Louvre for safekeeping but Notre Dame still had innumerable valuable treasures remaining. We will share more of this story next week.
Upcoming and Current Events
If you have an event you would like to mention, contact Darla at (574) 527-4044 or at [email protected].
- Warsaw Community High School will host the Trip Kappa art show from 6 to 9 p.m. May 9.
- The Dean Jansen photography exhibit at Warsaw City Hall will be on display through May 31.
- The Gallery at Rua will display the RedBird Studio art exhibit through May 19. Cardinal Services proudly displays some incredible artwork under mentor Timothy Young.
- The Honeywell Center Clark Gallery in Wabash will display Joel Fremion fabric collages through June 3.