Notre Dame Reflections, Paris


Notre Dame Reflections Paris 38cm x 31cm Original Oil on Primed Belgian Linen by Ramon Ward-Thompson

The beautiful Notre Dame cathedral stands on the Ile-de-la-Cite surrounded by the waters of the River Seine that runs through the centre of Paris.  Built on the site of an old Roman temple in the 12th century it is considered to be a Gothic masterpiece and over the centuries has always been a church for the people of Paris.  The colours of the misty Spring morning are reflected in the wet pavements of the Place de Petit Pont on the Left Bank of the Latin Quarter of Paris.  The bright colours of the flower display and the red awning of the corner café make a colourful statement standing out against the misty background where the filtered sunlight is highlighting the old stonework of the Notre Dame cathedral.

The cathedral, whose name means Our Lady, is the seat of the archbishop of Paris. The cathedral was built on a small island called the Île de la Cité, in the middle of the Seine. Construction began in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, and was completed in 1345. It is considered a jewel of medieval Gothic architecture.  After construction had begun, flying buttresses were added to the design of the cathedral. The design is meant to hold the thin, tall, Gothic-style walls up and prevent cracks in them. The flying buttressesare meant to provide support to the structure but also add to the cathedral’s Gothic style.

It was damaged and neglected in the 1790s, during the French Revolution. Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, “Notre-Dame of Paris,” published in English as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” informed readers about the building’s decrepit condition.  The book helped spur significant overhauls from 1844 to 1864, when the architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc redid the spire and flying buttresses.

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