“Remember Quasimodo, this is your sanctuary.” Hunchback of Notre Dame
One of Paris’ and the world’s most historic landmark was ablaze Monday, during the holiest of weeks for the Christian church. Left standing among the ashes were three three rose widows, the cross and the alter within the sanctuary, many of the statues that had been removed for the renovations that were taking place and more. The twin pillars are also still standing tall among the rubble.
Other survivors of the flames include the Christ’s Crown of Thorns and the nail and piece of wood said to have been taken from Jesus’ Cross of Crucifixion. The organ, which was last renovated in 1730, has more than 8,000 pipes and five keyboards also survived though not unscathed.
Notre Dame was the setting for the 1996 Disney animated musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame which was based on the 1831 Victor Hugo novel. The film grossed over $315 million worldwide and featured the vocal talents of Demi Moore, Kevin Kline and Jason Alexander
Said Bob Iger, “Notre Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history. The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece.”
Disney has other roots in the city of love as that is of course the home of Disneyland Paris.
Other companies and individuals pledging big bucks to the reconstruction effort include, Francois-Henri Pinault, head of Gucci and Saint Laurent parent company Kering, who has donated $113 million and Bernard Arnault, head of Louis Vuitton and Dior parent company LVMH, who has donated $226 million.
The Bettencourt family, heirs to the makeup giant L’Oreal have also pledged 200 million euros through their Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. Other companies have pledged large sums, bringing the total to $734 million so far.
Prior to the fire, Notre Dame had been undergoing an $8 million renovation and restoration to its towering spire when it caught fire. The spire did not survive the blaze though a call to design the new spire has already been made.
According to French President Emmanuel Macron the rebuilding process of what is considered to be one of the greatest examples of French Gothic architecture will be complete within five years.
Four years ago, an art historian named Andrew Tallon used lasers to digitally map the cathedral at Notre Dame. These digital images will likely help in the restoration process. Tallon died this past December, never knowing just how important his work could prove to be for the future of this symbol of so many things to so many different people.
Construction on the cathedral began in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully. By 1260, much of the original architecture was complete. The French Revolution caused much distress on the cathedram and much of the original imagery was destroyed.
The publication of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris) led to a major restoration of the cathedral that took place from 1844 to 1864. This was when the iconic spire was constructed.
Notre Dame has seen its share of devastation and restoration though none as significant as what is about to be undertaken to restore this iconic symbol to not only Paris, but to the world.
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