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France puts controversial Notre Dame stained glass windows on show

Jun 24, 2024

Paris [France], June 24: Stained glass windows that were deemed too controversial to display are now being shown in France after they were rediscovered in Notre Dame after a major fire.
They have long been hidden from view, after being removed in 1939, and parts of them were rediscovered in boxes after the fire that tore through Notre Dame five years ago.
The windows were initially considered too modern to display due to their bright colours and figurative style, but visitors to the Centre for Stained Glass in Troyes in north-eastern France can see them through to next year.
The works, by 12 artists, recall Cubism in their style. One is a rose window by Andre Rinuy, another is an exaggerated lancet window by Jean Hebert-Stevens, showing Saint Martin in a highly schematic way.
They were originally due to replace the simple grisaille paintings, which were predominantly in grey, white and black, but sparked years of debate about contemporary art in historical monuments.
The debate began afresh in December when French President Emmanuel Macron announced the installation of contemporary stained glass windows in Notre-Dame. Ever since, people have been signing a petition opposing the project.
The controversial project was created in 1935, Nicolas Dohrmann, general curator of cultural heritage and director of the Cite du Vitrail, told dpa. It was criticized right from the outset, but there was an outcry when the windows were put up in December 1938. They were removed in 1939.
Only one of the master glassmakers, Jacques Le Chevallier, dared to reinstall his modern works in 1956, though this was short-lived.
After renewed criticism and hostility, Le Chevallier gave up and later designed simple grisaille works that survived the Notre Dame blaze.
Now, some of the works are being shown for the first time in more than 80 years at the "Notre-Dame de Paris: The Stained Glass Controversy" show, that runs until January 5, 2025.
Source: Qatar Tribune

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