16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire

16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire

16 historic works of art were removed from the Notre Dame Cathedral only four days before the fire that destroyed a large portion of the building, according to the Associated Press.


On April 11th, 2019, it was reported that “religious statues set atop Notre Dame Cathedral have come down for the first time in over a century as part of a restoration of the monumental Paris church’s towering spire. A 100-meter-high (105-yard) crane lowered the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists onto a truck, giving the public a ground-level look for the first time on Thursday. The three-meter-tall statues are being sent to southwestern France for work that is part of a six-million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the cathedral spire and its 250 tons of lead.”


When the fire occurred, the cathedral was in the middle of a renovation project estimated to cost at least $169 million or €150 million.


As reported by a New York Times article in 2017, Cathedral spokesperson André Finot said the building was in desperate need of repair.


According to Reuters, the works of art taken from the Notre Dame Cathedral during the evacuation are being transferred to the Louvre Museum.


16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire

A worker helps to remove the religious statue representing St. Andrew from the top of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo Credit: Francois Mori Associated Press


French Culture Minister Franck Riester said that members of the fire department, the ministry of culture, and the city townhall rushed into the Cathedral when the fire started and did their best to protect the historic works of art inside the cathedral. The historic artworks that were saved include French king Saint-Louis’s 13th-century tunic and Christ’s crown of thorns.


French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the historic cathedral, and as the church burned, wealthy donors from around the globe started pledging their own money for the reconstruction. The donors have reportedly pledged approximately €600m or $677m so far.


“We’ll rebuild this cathedral all together, and it’s undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we’ll have for the coming years,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised speech.


When the fire was fully put out, fire brigade spokesman Lt-Col Gabriel Plus told the BBC that the damage was bad, but would've been far worse had fire crews not arrived when they did.


16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire

The religious statue representing St. Paul is hoisted from the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Thursday, April 11, 2019. / Photo Credit: Francois Mori, Associated Press


However, Riester, France’s minister of culture, warned that although the principal structure had been saved, the building was still unstable.


The picture below shows the full extent of the fire in its aftermath:


16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire

Aftermath of Notre Dame Cathedral fire / Photo Credit: AFP Getty


At first, some speculated that this could be an act of arson. However, experts are now pointing to a construction fire as the reason for the blaze. Construction fires are sadly common during old church restorations, as Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York, explains.


The problem is that sparks from welders or open flames from torches can easily catch fire to the many flammable items in places like this. Also, the old wood in the building itself acts as a kind of kindling.


Experts claim that the building was already in rough shape anyway, and was at risk of collapsing in the next ten years even if there wasn’t a fire.

16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire 16 Historic Artworks That Were Removed From Notre-Dame Cathedral Four Days Before The Massive Fire Reviewed by Katerina Papakyriakopoulou on 11:33 AM Rating: 5

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