7/05/2019

Notre-Dame de Paris and Architectural Culture

"The iconic spire was designed by Eugène-Emanuelle Viollet-le-Duc (1814–1879) as part of a twenty-five-year-long restoration project begun in 1844, which sought to repair the extensive damage caused by vandalism during the French Revolution and the decades of neglect that followed. Viollet-le-Duc’s design for the flêche was not a “pastiche” or a Romantic recreation of the past. Rather, it was an act of artistic empathy based on thorough knowledge. It was an “invention within a style,” proving that the Gothic was not a dead language that was limited to a single historical period, but a living tradition that could be summoned to new life in the present. It was this sense of continuity, both in style and in method, that caused his approach to be rejected by the Modern Movement in architecture, for whom dramatizing the difference between the historic and the new was more important than returning the monument and its setting to a state of wholeness."