The story behind the towering Notre Dame spire and the 30-year-old architect commissioned to rebuild itBreaking News
tags: Paris, Notre Dame, French history, religious history, Notre Dame fire
The statues floated across the sky like ghosts, headless as they hovered above Paris one by one on the morning of April 11. Bearing the likenesses of the 12 apostles and symbols of the four evangelists, they were dislodged from the base of the 90-meter-tall Notre Dame de Paris spire by crane, carefully lowered to the ground, and then placed in the bed of a truck.
Their removal was a “magical moment,” given that the statues had not been seen up close since the original architect put them there more than 150 years ago, Marie-Hélène Didier, a French official overseeing the restoration, told Agence France-Presse news agency. It was supposed to be part of a badly needed restoration project for the cathedral’s spire.
But now, after an inferno engulfed the famous cathedral Monday night, the statues’ removal seems more akin to a rescue mission. The 16 religious figures, which were whisked off to southwestern France, appear to be among the only surviving remnants of the famous cathedral’s renowned spire that, for decades, pierced the Paris skyline like an arrow — until it toppled to the ground Monday night.
“I’m completely nauseated,” Olivier Baumgartner, who was working on the spire restoration project, told the New Yorker on Monday.
The spire and the statues trace their roots to the mid-19th century work of a bold visionary who, at the age of 30, was commissioned to restore the cathedral and replace an old spire after years of neglect. The earlier spire had been removed from Notre Dame Cathedral between 1786 and 1791 after centuries of wind damage left it teetering on the brink of collapse.
comments powered by Disqus
- How the US stole thousands of Native American children
- A history of selling out the Kurds, people with 'no friends but the mountains'
- 9 Landmark Supreme Court Cases That Shaped LGBTQ Rights in America
- A newspaper accused the president’s family of profiting from a foreign deal. The president sued.
- Here are the indigenous people Christopher Columbus and his men could not annihilate
- Serhii Plokhii on Ukraine’s Political Frontiers
- ‘Return to the Reich’ Review: Refugee Redux
- Black Perspectives Announces Online Forum Honoring the Life and Work of Dr. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
- It was the nation’s largest auction of enslaved people. Now, a search for descendants of the ‘weeping time.’
- Historians Jon Meacham, Mark Summers, Keri Leigh Merritt, Michael Ross, Brenda Wineapple, and Benjamin Railton Featured in Article on Andrew Johnson and Impeachment