Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paris on a Sunday (Part I)

I was really excited to visit Notre Dame for the first time since reading Michael Camille's Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity, a book that argues for a basically Victorian interpretation of the gargoyle program on the building, set into motion by the nineteenth-century restorers. It's a brilliant book and I highly recommend it, although it's hard to get one's hands on a print copy anymore (as I discovered while futiley trying to get it for my mom for her birthday), but my conclusion, having been in the space, was that the scale of the building limits the force of Camille's argument to a certain extent: His thinking is totally sound and innovative and brilliant for the gargoyles and chimeras to which it applies; but there are loads that don't fit into his categories.

In any event, it was Sunday when I visited, which was interesting anthropologically as much as architecturally.

In the archaeological crypt they have a four-part digital reconstruction showing the construction of the original building:

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