|Paris's Notre Dame, the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, turns 850|
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois (foreground L) , the archbishop of Paris leads a Pontifical Mass in 'Notre-Dame de Paris' cathedral, on December 12, 2012 in Paris, as part of its 850th anniversary. Notre Dame (Our Lady), the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital and a masterpiece of Gothic art, launched from December 12 a year of celebrations to mark the 850th anniversary of its founding. AFP PHOTO PATRICK KOVARIK.
By: Angus MacKinnon
PARIS (AFP).- Quasimodo only had eyes for Esmerelda but the famous hunchback's fellow Parisians have always had another special lady in their lives.
Notre Dame (Our Lady), the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, on Wednesday launched a year of celebrations to mark the 850th anniversary of its founding.
Like a true Parisienne, age has not withered her. Eight and a half tumultuous centuries have left one of the jewels of Gothic architecture with barely a wrinkle, but plenty of stories to tell.
A 12th century crusade was launched from here. An English monarch, Henry VI, was crowned King of France in 1431. Nearly 500 years later, it was in this building that Joan of Arc was declared a saint.
In 1548, rioting Huguenots extensively damaged some of the edifice's finest features.
Two and a half centuries later, at the height of the French Revolution's anti-clerical frenzy, the church suffered further vandalism and narrowly escaped complete destruction, its utility as a warehouse for food effectively saving it for generations to come.
Yet only a few years later, in 1804, Pope Pius VII was officiating as Napoleon and Josephine were installed as Emperor and Empress.
It was not until the second half of the 19th century that Notre Dame was fully restored to its pre-Revolution state, thanks to a 25-year programme of renovation overseen by the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.
Without it, the venerated cathedral might have sunk into the Seine, the river it overlooks from its position on the eastern half of an island, the Ile de la Cite, in the middle of the river that runs through the city.
Viollet-le-Duc did the engineering, but the real saviour of the cathedral was Victor Hugo, the writer whose epic novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was responsible for highlighting the cathedral's architectural value and its "countless defacements and mutilations".
"The bells, the bells," was a catchphrase made famous by Charles Laughton in the role of the hunchback Quasimodo in the 1937 film version of Hugo's masterpiece, and the bells of Notre Dame will be at the centre of the jubilee celebrations.
Nine new bells are to be delivered during 2013, replacing four that were taken out of service at the start of last year.
The new arrivals will team up with Emmanuel, the great bell that only just managed to avoid being melted down during the revolution and rang out to announce the liberation of Paris from German occupation in 1944.
"Finally, the full line-up of bells will be restored for the first time since before the revolution," Mgr Patrick Jacquin, the rector of the cathedral, told AFP.
New, improved lighting, a viewing platform and a renovated organ have also been ordered to mark the jubilee year, during which the church expects to receive an extra five million visitors.
A series of musical events are also planned to celebrate the cathedral's unrivalled acoustics.
From this month until November 2013, there will be a programme of 25 concerts reflecting the array of musical styles that have resonated around the cathedral's buttresses over the years, from Gregorian chants to contemporary symphonies via landmark works of religious inspiration like German composer Joseph Haydn's "Creation".
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
December 16, 2012
Napoleon's abandoned palace in Venice shines again after $3.2 million restoration
Exhibition at the Groninger Museum is tribute to the peoples and cultures of the Nordic countries
Royal Academy celebrates Diamond Jubilee with gift of 97 works on paper for The Queen
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart offers a journey through two hundred years of art history
Paris's Notre Dame, the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, turns 850
Galerie Lelong announced the completion of a major new work by Andy Goldsworthy: Stone Sea
Spain's cultural treasures on exclusive U.S. tour from the Prado, Madrid, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
A chamber orchestra of 20 children from Paraguay play Mozart with violins made from garbage
Iconic film car, 'Rain Man' 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible, brings $170,500 at Heritage Auctions
New installation by Morgan Fisher reflects on aspect of new Aspen Art Museum design by Shigeru Ban
Marklin 'Chicago' glides to $264,500 at Bertoia's $1.6M sale of Dick Claus collection, Part II
Solo exhibition of new work by Kathryn Andrews opens at David Kordansky Gallery
FACT's final exhibition for 2012 is Winter Sparks, an interactive programme of works
Mexico's Mayas face Dec. 21 with ancestral calm
First survey exhibition of Goshka Macuga opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Visionary women launch ambitious endowment campaign with $15M in gifts
The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents recent works by British sculptor Richard Deacon
Recent ceramic works by Elisa D'Arrigo on view at The Elizabeth Harris Gallery
First major solo exhibition in Europe of Yin Xiuzhen's work opens at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Susan Silas' "Love in the ruins: Sex over 50" opens at STUDIO10 in Brooklyn
2.- Mexican archaeologists find a 1,500 year old shaft tomb in the state of Colima
3.- The British Museum presents its first major exhibition on Vikings in over 30 years
4.- First major monographic exhibition on Paul Gauguin ever presented at MoMA opens
5.- Major exhibition dedicated to the lifework of Emil Nolde opens at Stadel Museum
6.- Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam announces acquisition of two works by Steve McQueen
7.- Paris fashion goes shopping at the Chanel supermarket with fully-stocked aisles and check-outs
8.- "Craft in America: Industry: Handmade in the Creative Economy" to premiere on PBS in May
9.- Six major art institutions across the United States acquire seminal Robert Rauschenberg works
10.- Art Institute of Chicago presentation showcases the art and science of Renoir painting
After Winning Bidder Didn't Pay Up, Nuns' Honus Wagner Baseball Card Goes to New Buyer
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|