Notre Dame de Paris: the medieval cathedral and its 19th century restoration
Lecture by Tom Nickson
Give at The Courtauld Institute of Art on 29 October 2019
I want to do today is really trying to contribute to our understanding of this building in the Middle Ages, and first I want to underline the way that the structure of Notre Dame has changed continually really since this church was first begun in the 1160s. It’s been subject to a continual cycle of change and modification and I think that’s very important when we think about its current history. I then want to look at some of the formal and structural features that made it so significant in its time and in the centuries that followed, and think about why it was imitated in a number of other churches across medieval Europe. And then finally I want to look at a number of medieval representations of the church, particularly its exterior, and think about how they might inform the way we think about restoring it.
Top Image: Notre Dame Cathedral at the beginning of the restoration work, photo from 1847 by Hippolyte Bayard