A Scandalous Makeover at Chartres

January 7, 2015 § 3 Comments

“Carried away by the splendors of the moment, I did not initially realize that something was very wrong. I had noticed the floor-to-ceiling scrim-covered scaffolding near the crossing of the nave and transepts, but had assumed it was routine maintenance. But my more attentive wife, the architectural historian Rosemarie Haag Bletter—who as a Columbia doctoral candidate took courses on Romanesque sculpture with the legendary Meyer Schapiro and Gothic architecture with the great medievalist Robert Branner—immediately noticed that large areas of the sanctuary’s deep gray limestone surface had been painted…”
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A Scandalous Makeover at Chartres was originally published on FieldGrass


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§ 3 Responses to A Scandalous Makeover at Chartres

  • Toni H says:

    A work in total is always the best to experience, rather than the shocking contrast. Still it will be shocking I fear. We do not like to be shocked by what we are comfortable with. Such is art.

  • Toni H says:

    A good point. I have not seen some the the recent restorations in person, just through reading articles like this State side. Based on other results and techniques used within the past ten years, I remain dubious. I worry about the potentional irreparable destruction or damage more than anything, as always. The revision of the artists’ original vision bothers me as well. The Sistine Chapel ceiling being especially invasive and disturbing epic fail. I will take your advice and wait to pass judgement. Thanks!

  • Your horror over the painting at Chartres is understandable and I sympathize. As an artist with some experience of value interaction, though I urge you to wait and see how it seems when the whole area has been painted. The contrast (as well as the shock) may make it look worse now than it when it is done.

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