Cathedral ‘modern art’ element draws ire - GulfToday

Cathedral ‘modern art’ element draws ire


People listen as Emmanuel Macron speak at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

Conservative French politicians expressed concern on  Thursday about the prospect of modern architecture being added to Notre-Dame cathedral after the government invited design proposals for a new roof and spire.

Politicians from France’s right-wing Republicans and far-right National Rally (RN) party called on the government to restore the cathedral exactly as it was before the devastating fire broke out on Monday evening.

French President Emmanuel Macron has set a five-year target for the reconstruction to be completed and has said “an element of modern architecture could be imagined.”

“Let’s stop this madness: we need to have absolute respect for French heritage,” Jordan Bardella from the National Rally told LCI channel, rejecting the idea that “some modern art thing” might be added.

“Modern art makes me nostalgic for the arts of the past,” he added.

“There will be a competition that will get architects from all over the world to reflect,” Culture Minister Franck Riester told RMC radio.

“Every time cathedrals are restored anywhere in the world they are done a bit differently,” he added. “We shouldn’t be dogmatic about thinking a cathedral needs to redone how it was.”

A descendant of architect Viollet-le-Duc urged on Thursday that the steeple be rebuilt in some form after the government said one option might be to do without one altogether.

“Not reconstructing the spire would equate to amputating an element that belongs to it,” Jean-Marie Henriquet, 76, said.

Senior Republicans politician Francois-Xavier Bellamy also warned innovation-loving Macron about the dangers of trying to modernise a national treasure.

“It would be tragic if grief over the destruction gives way to a mania for disruption, and that the pride of the ‘new world’ distorts the best of the old instead of transmitting it,” he wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday pledged 500,000 euros $562,0000 to help ensure Notre Dame is restored in time for the 2024 Paris Games.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach told 2024 Games chief Thomas Estanguet in a letter.

Agence France-Presse

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