The world was stunned when a fire broke out in the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris early in the evening of April 15. Investigators believe the fire started at the center of the cathedral’s oak and lead roof, destroying much of what was in its path, including a large portion of the cathedral’s wooden rib-vaulted ceiling, several stained glass windows, and most dramatically, the building’s iconic spire.
Built in the Middle Ages, the Notre-Dame Cathedral has been a symbol of Paris for over 6 centuries. It is renowned for its prominent place in Paris, rich history, and Gothic architecture, which took almost 200 years to complete.
After this tragic news went viral, many artists quickly picked up their pencils and brushes to pay tribute to the historical wonder.
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Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire Moves Artists Around the World
Notre-Dame Cathedral was undergoing renovation and restoration when the roof caught fire. Burning for around 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, but fortunately, many of the cathedral’s most prized features have escaped the recent fire, including its collections of gargoyles and grotesques, rose windows, and relics. French investigators believe an electrical short circuit may have caused the fire.
Since then, artists have been taking to social media to pay tribute to Notre-Dame de Paris. Many of them drew variations of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the French Gothic novel by revered author Victor Hugo. Some painted the horrifying scene. Scroll down to see the list of these poignant tributes to the beloved cathedral.
Notre-Dame Cathedral has been the epicenter of Paris. Physically, it is the site of Paris’s point zero, a specific spot from which all distances in France are measured. Much more than this, however, it has come to represent everything that Paris stands for. Surviving iconoclastic riots, the French Revolution, and even two World Wars, it represents Paris’s resilience. After all, for 500 years, Paris’s official motto has been “Fluctuat nec mergitur,” a Latin phrase that means “She is rocked by the waves but does not sink.”
In the 19th century, the cathedral was the site of the coronation of Napoleon I, the baptism of Henri, Count of Chambord, and the funerals of several presidents of the Third French Republic.
“There were lots of people all gathering around. Everyone was really quiet,” said an American tourist who has visited the cathedral multiple times. When the cathedral’s spire fell, everyone around screamed. Some people were moved to tears.
In an impromptu act of togetherness and hope, Parisians and tourists visiting France’s charismatic capital came together to pray for Notre-Dame Cathedral as the fire quickly advanced. Others raised their voices in song as the firefighters battled the massive blaze.
By early Tuesday, the fire was declared under control, with the Paris fire service saying it was fully extinguished by 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT).