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The Religious Aspect Notre-Dame

The Religious Aspect Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame Catholic cathedral in Paris dates back to the 13th century and are one of the masterpieces of Gothic art in Western Europe. The combination of stain glasses and the huge interior are really stunning which arouses artistic experiences of mystical dimension. Located on the Cité island and surrounded by the Seine river, Notre-Dame is a flagship in the Parisian landscape and provides a magnificent view of the city from the top of its towers.

Notre-Dame was preceded by a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter, a Christian basilica, and a Romanesque church. Its in Paris began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII. Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone. Construction was completed approximately 200 years later in about 1345.

Notre-Dame has had an action-packed history over the centuries. Crusaders prayed here before leaving on their holy wars and polyphonic music developed in the cathedral. Notre-Dame was plundered during the French revolution, as were a number of other cathedrals throughout France. Many of the cathedral’s other treasures were either destroyed or plundered only the great bells avoided being melted down. Revolutionaries devoted the cathedral first to the cult of Reason, and subsequently to the cult of the Supreme Being. The church interior was used as a warehouse for the storage of food.

Notre-Dame has the distinction of being the cathedral where Napoléon, wishing to emphasize the primacy of the state over the church, crowned himself emperor, and then crowned Joséphine, his Martinique-born wife, as his empress. During the 19th century, writer Victor Hugo and artists such as Ingres brought awareness to the dangerous state of disrepair into which the Cathedral had fallen, consequently raising a new awareness of its artistic value. Whereas 18th-century neoclassicists had virtually ignored the creations of the Middle Ages – and had even replaced the stained glass at Notre-Dame with normal glass – the 19th-century romantics saw that distant period with new eyes and greater appreciation.

Besides bringing new life to the rose windows and the statues, Viollet-le-Duc designed Notre-Dame’s spire, a new feature of the building, and the sacristy. Also in the 19th century, Baron Haussmann evicted those Parisians whose houses cluttered the Cathedral’s vicinity. During the Commune of 1871, the Cathedral was nearly burned by the Communards. Whatever happened, Notre-Dame survived the Commune essentially unscathed.

Yet it is the art of Notre-Dame, rather than its history, that still awes. The west front includes 28 statues representing the monarchs of Judea and Israel. The three portals illustrate, from left to right, the Last Judgment; the Madonna and Child; St. Anne, the Virgin’s mother; and Mary’s youth until the birth of Jesus. The interior, with its slender, graceful columns, is imposing – there is room for as many as 6,000 worshipers. The three rose windows to the west, north, and south – are masterful, their colors a glory to behold on a sunny day.

To have looked at the upper parts of the church, the river, and much of Paris, climbs the 387 steps to the top of one of the towers. The south tower holds Notre-Dame’s 13-ton bell, which is rung on special occasions.