Home / Funny / Viral / Painting Saved During Notre-Dame Fire Now Back Where They Belong


Across France and the globe, millions of people were captivated to watch as Notre Dame caught fire in 2019. A large portion of the roof and spires were destroyed in the terrible fire, which also seriously damaged the priceless artwork inside the church. The passage of time has demonstrated how medieval and modern architecture can coexist and rebuild. The cathedral was built using traditional methods, which contemporary architects and conservators have worked to replicate and conserve. 

Fortunately, large number of Notre Dame's treasures were eventually removed from the structure—either during or after the fire. Renowned works from the 17th and 18th centuries' "Mays" group of religious paintings were included in this collection. After conservation, these 13 pieces will be on view at the Mobilier National through July 2024. Thirteen of these paintings are in the collections of Notre Dame, but they are part of a larger series that was painted between 1630 and 1707 and is currently housed in several collections. They have scenes that are Christian.

The May deadline for the annual competition held in honour of the Virgin Mary by the Confrérie des Orfèvres is where the term "Mays" originates. The background of politics and religion is more intricate. The artwork emphasised the Catholic side's triumph in earlier religious conflicts in France. During the French Revolution, many paintings that had previously all belonged to Notre Dame were relocated. The remnants were taken out during the 19th-century redecoration and reinstalled in the cathedral at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Guardian was informed by Emmanuel Pénicaut, director of Mobilier National, that "we were lucky to get them out quite quickly with just a little water damage and dust." It was almost like a miracle. The day after the fire, we started taking them out and made the decision that they would all be restored. The exhibition offers the opportunity to view them all together, as they would have been originally displayed, in the order that they were painted. The way they appear now is how they would have appeared on the day they were finished.

The pieces will be on show in an exhibition called Notre Dame's Restored Masterpieces, offering a rare chance to view them in an outdoor setting after restoration. Before the grand reopening of Notre Dame to the public in December, they will return to their actual home. 

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