“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.” — Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1831 to 1996
My introduction to the Cathedral of Notre Dame was when I was a child; it was in the dark of a movie theatre and to a score that is to this day unbeatable in my mind.
To see Disney’s version of the Victor Hugo classic The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was astounding and much more relatable in the changed times since the 1831 release of the book.
The one thing that always inspired me was thinking just how detailed the reconstruction of the imposing and majestically beautiful Cathedral herself was. How much attention to detail the animators themselves had to have been in order to bring even a hundredth of the real thing to the animated screen.
The way the stone looked both in day and night, the statues of the various grotesques that watched over her warding off the evil spirits, the pillars and stained glass that brought in colors the world sadly may never see again.
Today, a fire broke out in the halls of the Cathedral herself and the world has stood shocked and still. The web is ripe with many different videos depicting the horror that is being seen first-hand.
The throes of mourners watching singing her Ava Maria hits emotions and livens the skin with goosebumps. It is truly a sad day as a pillar of hope and muse for many is suffering this blow.
The Cathedral is praised as one of the most exquisite examples of Gothic architecture; it has been a sigil for many from the faithful to the sightseers for centuries. A haven. Sanctuary. The damage that has been done today is incalculable, but it has happened.
She has been saved once before; it was her life that Victor Hugo was saving when he took pen to paper and wrote his tale. If not for him who knows what would have become of her back then.
Through The Eyes of Art
Whole generations would never have known her grace and beauty, her calm and endearing spirit if not for him and the architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc who not only helped to restore but enhance her with the 750 ton spire and the 56 Chimera.
What is to come is unknown but the world is watching France and our hearts are with her in mourning. In hope. In loss. I know here at Gothic Bite Magazine we are deeply feeling the pain, our hearts are with you and we stand in solidarity with France.