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Notre Dame Cathedral Drawing

By April 26, 2019February 2nd, 2024Art and Faith, Drawing, Architecture

Notre Dame Cathedral: Beauty in Flames

A few days before Easter 2019 we all watched in shock as fire enveloped a great monument of Christian architecture, Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. Just a few days before I had discussed with my two homeschool co-op classes about Pope Benedict XVI’s charge to be “custodians of beauty”. In his address to artists in 2009 he tasked artists with the responsibility of being “custodians of beauty”. Indeed, I strongly believe the call is to all of us.

Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart, and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration. And all this through the work of your hands… Remember that you are the custodians of beauty in the world.

Pope Benedict XVI

One older woman in this news story from The Guardian mourned:  “Think of the all people who built it over centuries, and on our watch we let it burn.”

The power of Beauty

I visited many Gothic cathedrals in England and across Europe when I was a girl. My father took two sabbaticals in England. During those semesters, he took us to every cathedral within a two hour drive of Cambridge, where we lived. At the time I found it tedious, but now I see it as my first glimpse of how art can be used for the service of God. On one of those sabbaticals we visited Paris, and Notre Dame.
Later I traveled across Europe during my Junior Study Abroad at Gordon College. I experienced countless examples of the beauty of the sacred art and architecture. These encounters were part of my journey to the Catholic Church.  As a result I know firsthand the power of beauty to move hearts and souls for Christ. 

Bishop Barron’s video discussing the Notre Dame Rose Window explains this very well.

What is Gothic Architecture?

Perhaps you recognize Notre Dame as a monument of Gothic architecture, or perhaps you only know it as a “famous church”. Either way, this video very helpful in introducing some of the architectural concepts and vocabulary that set Gothic architecture apart from other styles.

Drawing Notre Dame Cathedral

This drawing of Notre Dame Cathedral supplements years of drawings and paintings of medieval architecture. I am generally more drawn to representing the interiors of cathedrals in my artwork. However, it is the exterior which people use as landmarks of their daily lives and travels. As a result, when I paint a memory for someone, art from their life for their life, it is usually the exterior that they request. This drawing came out of love and sorrow for something lost. In summary, although it can be rebuilt, it can never be replaced.

The day it burned I gathered with friends from our local parish to pray ask Our Lady to pray for the power of beauty to change hearts and fill them with grace. The prayer continues. 

Does this image spark memories for you? Prints are available in a variety of sizes. Gift one to a loved one or travel companion today. 

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