The western façade

This façade was started under the episcopate d'eudes de Sully from 1200 per third architect and pursued under his successors, notably Guillaume D'AUVERGNE, after 1220 by the fourth. there North Tower was completed in 1240 and the south in 1250.

It presents itself as an imposing, simple and harmonious mass whose strength and sober grandeur are based on a set of vertical and horizontal lines :
– four mighty buttresses that spring up to the top of the towers and raise them to the sky. They tell us symbolically that this Church-Cathedral is built for God.
– two broad horizontal strips that seem to pack the building towards our carnal land. This Cathedral Church is also a Cathedral for men.
Its dimensions are imposing:
– 41 m in width
– 43 m in height to the base of the towers
– 63 m at the top of the towers

With its simplicity and harmony, this façade has fascinated modern art historians and contemporary architects. Marcel Aubert will write that it is one of the most perfect that the middle ages has raised, a masterpiece of composition and execution, as to Le Corbusier, he will speak of a pure creation of the spirit. For him, the decisive surface is regulated by the square and the circle Hence its geometric purity.

The symbolic reading can help us understand the meaning:
– the square is the symbol of the space createdLimited.
– the circle is the symbol of the unlimited, perfect figure without beginning or end, image of God.
The world of God broke into the created world: God made himself man. This is the Mystery of the incarnation. The head of the Virgin and Jesus is inscribed exactly in the center of the Western rose. The "Yes" of Mary allowed the outbreak of God in Jesus in the world. And Mary introduces the son to the city.

In the Centre of the façade, at the level of the so-called Madonna Gallery, a Big Pink, 9.60 m in diameter and carried out towards 1225, occupies the center of the façade constituting as a Halo to a statue of the Madonna and child between two Angels. On the right and left, the statues of Adam and Eve recall the original fault. These statues were redone by The Duke in the nineteenth century.

Under the balustrade, extends the wide horizontal strip of the Gallery of Kings. It aligns twenty-eight statues representing twenty-eight generations of Kings of Judah, descendants of Jesse and human ancestors of Mary and Jesus. This ensemble emphasizes that Mary, true woman, born of the human race, spawns Jesus, true man and true God.
Established in the first third of the 13Th century, these painted statues go very quickly appear as representations of the Kings of France that simple people liked to recognize. As of 1284, this is how they are presented. And this tradition will be perpetuate over the centuries. That is why, at the time of the turmoil of the revolution, they will suffer major mutilations as symbols of Royal despotism and be slaughtered..
– In 1843, when the architects Viollet-le-Duc and Lassus received the Notre-Dame shipyard, none of these statues remained. Viollet-le-Duc decided, with the help of the workshop Geoffroi - Dechaume, to restore the statues that we see today.
– In 1977, in favour of works in the Parisian quarter of the Chaussée D'ANTIN, 143 fragments Royal statues of Notre Dame were rediscovered. They are currently exposed to the musée de Cluny.

On the lower floor, under the Gallery of Kings, we observe three major portals which are not exactly the same. The central portal, called the judgement portal, is higher and wider than the other two, the Sainte-Anne Portal (right or South) and the Portal of the Virgin (left or North). This one is topped by a triangular spoof. These Portals are adorned with a tingling of characters and surrounded in the ebrazing of large statues redone in the nineteenth century by Viollet-le-Duc.

On the buttresses, niches shelter Four statues redone by the Atelier de Viollet-le-Duc. This is on the left (North) counterfort of the deacon saint Étienne, on the right buttfort (South) of a Bishop, most likely saint Denis, and on either side of the central portal of two allegories, the synagogue right and thechurch Left.

This façade, gushing directly from the ground, appears as a masterpiece of balance and harmony.

This façade was started under the episcopate d'eudes de Sully from 1200 per third architect and pursued under his successors, notably Guillaume D'AUVERGNE, after 1220 by the fourth. there North Tower was completed in 1240 and the south in 1250.

 

ND-Paris _ 6406

Light a candle at Notre-Dame