Thursday, April 18, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral

Andrew Tallon created a spatial map of Notre Dame using more than a billion laser-measured points.
"A lot of features of this church, while not unique, were new at the time. Stained glass was new, flying buttresses were new, Gothic architecture itself was new."
"This was a site of innovation."
Samantha Herrick, medieval historian, France

"Clearly, they were damaged, but to what degree we don't yet know."
"Even if the fire didn't come all the way down into the cathedral itself, the heat itself was very intense. And the heat will have impacted the glass, as well as the material that keeps the glass panels together."
Karine Bonuanger, stained glass specialist, Sorbonne University, Paris

"If Notre Dame is a symbol of France, of its history, of its art, it is also the property of the state."
"In that sense, if we can only rejoice in the generosity of great donors, we could only be proud that the State undertakes to finance this restoration fully, in these troubled times."
Olivier Gabet, Musee des Arts decoratifs, Paris
The steeple of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral collapses as the cathedral is engulfed in flames in central Paris on April 15, 2019. - A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. A spokesman for the cathedral told AFP that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

Who might have foreseen that an ancient Cathedral, one whose construction in the Medieval era between the Romanesque and the Gothic style of architecture and which took fully two centuries of painstaking design and construction to complete, might have been imperilled when a modern-day effort at remediation with the use of modern tools setting off sparks might end up causing the ancient structure to catch fire, burning swiftly through the original forest of oak holding up the lead-topped roof.

Disbelief struck everyone who either witnessed the conflagration in person or viewed what was happening through social media sites, that this could surely not really be happening. A swift check of unimpeachable news sites following an iteration of lesser-known media sites proliferated on Twitter ascertained the credibility of the news. Notre Dame Cathedral, 850 years old, a venerated edifice dedicated to the worship of the Christian faith, was sending great gushing torrents of flame into the night sky.


Within the incredibly short space of 40 minutes since the alarm went out, the trusses of the roof collapsed and the marvellously-constructed spire stretching its imposing height to the sky as though appealing to god to meet it halfway, lurched sideways and tumbled, humbling the noble structure and raising fears in onlookers that the entire Gothic marvel would be lost forever. Its brilliant stained glass windows, its panelled interior, its carvings and paintings, legendary for their beauty and pious execution; lost heirlooms.

The charred interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral after Monday's devastating fire.
The charred interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral after Monday's devastating fire. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

As the flames fiercely licked both overhead and down into the cathedral's interior, firefighters rushed in, prepared to rescue and carry to safety whatever they could of the cathedral's treasures. The artwork, the liturgical items, the priceless religious relics placed everywhere throughout the alcoves and warrens of the cathedral as people outside held their collective breaths in disbelief, singing softly and praying fervently.

"We made a human chain, with our friends from the church ... to get, as quickly as possible, to get all the relics", the deputy mayor for tourism of Paris, Jean-Francois Martin, said. Among them the fire fighters' chaplain, Paris officials, church caretakers. The Crown of Thorns believed worn by Christ before the crucifixion, and a tunic worn once by Saint Louis in the 13th Century even as Notrre Dame was being built, were among the rescued treasures.
A Paris official said the main risk to the cathedral is the gables above the rose windows, which provide crucial support to the stained glass masterpieces. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

Paintings, suffering from smoke damage were carried out and taken for restoration to the Louvre Museum. The raging inferno that investigators will determine whether its source was the restoration work on the cathedral's roof, was stopped by the 400 firefighters deployed in a desperate bid to save the Cathedral, before total destruction occurred; another fifteen, twenty, 30 minutes might have spelled the utter end of its renowned presence altogether."Nothing indicates a deliberate act", Remy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor announced.

In England, London's Westminster Abbey rang to mark 24 hours since the fire at the cathedral had broken out. Fragments of the remains of Saint Genevieve and Saint Denis, portions installed in 1935 in the 19th Century spire were irretrievably lost. The stained glass masterpieces will have to be assessed for damage and then a restoration process embarked upon, along with the rest of the Cathedral which is slated for complete reconstruction; the landmark icon of transcendent architecture will live again.
Notre-Dame will be closed for up to six years following a devastating fire, the cathedral's rector announced Wednesday. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

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