The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, November 29, 2015

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

Notre Dame | Paris | Mgr Patrick Jacquin |

Today's News

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.- First solo exhibition by the American artist Mickalene Thomas in Belgium opens at Galerie Nathalie Obadia

2.- Israel accidentally finds ancient mosaic that served as pavement for a courtyard in a villa

3.- The address of Johannes Vermeer's the Little Street discovered by Rijksmuseum curator

4.- The nine lives of Russia's Hermitage cats that root out unwanted guests: Rodents

5.- Robbers make off with masterpieces by Rubens and Tintoretto from museum in Verona

6.- 17th century letters at Museum of Communication reveal refugees 'sense of loss'

7.- New museum dedicated to the artist Mu Xin opens in Zhejiang Province, China

8.- Who are the most prolific art collectors in the US today?

9.- Rubens House brings newly discovered study for a portrait by Van Dyck to Antwerp

10.- "The Nude in the XX and XXI century" curated by Jane Neal opens at Sotheby's S/2 London

Related Stories

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, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Social Network Manager and Translator: Norma Cristina Pérez Ayala Cano

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful