collections

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Art (1460–1921)

“Its architecture… possesses something so singular, so bold, and at the same time so delicate, that it has ever been esteemed one of the handsomest structures.” (From vol. 18 of the 1810 Encyclopaedia Londinensis)

“Notre-Dame Cathedral is the very soul of Paris but so much more—it is a touchstone for all that is the best about the world, and a monument to the highest aspirations of artistic achievement that transcends religion and time. It has survived so much—from the French Revolution to Nazi occupation—to watch its devastation is excruciating.” – Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock, Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters. ⠀

Like many around the world, we were so sad and shocked to see the Notre-Dame burning — to witness such history in flames. But also relieved to learn now that so much was saved, including the main structure and many of its stunning stained-glass windows. We spent the day yesterday picking out highlights from the many centuries of artworks to feature the iconic building — from its illuminated punctuation of medieval skylines to grainy detailed studies at the birth of photography. We are presenting them here in rough chronological order, which we hope gives a sense of how this magnificent building — more than eight centuries old — has inspired and outlasted so many epochs and lives and, thanks to the dedication of another generation of craftspeople, will continue to do so.

notre dame
The Right Hand of God Protecting the Faithful against the Demons, from the “Hours of Étienne Chevalier”, by Jean Fouquet, ca. 1460 — Source.

notre dame
Arrival to Paris of the young duke Louis II d’Anjouand his mother Marie de Blois. Miniature from Chroniques de Jean Froissart, Bruges, ca. 1475 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame-de-Paris, dans Pontifical romain aux armes de Jean II de Mauléon, évêque de Saint-Bertrand-de Comminges, BnF, Ms. Latin 1226-2, by Noël Bellemare, ca. 1525 — Source.

notre dame
Portrait of Queen Marie Thérèse of France, as patron of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, by Charles Beaubrun and Henri Beaubrun the younger, ca. 1670 — Source.

notre dame
Vüe de l’intérieur de l’Eglise Cathédrale de notre Dame de Paris, artist unknown, 1670 — Source.

notre dame
Funeral of the Grand Condé, a drawing by Jean Berain Frenc, ca. 1687 — Source.

notre dame
Plan of the choir, by Pierre Lepautre, 1715 — Source.

notre dame
Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame de Paris, December 2, 1804, a painting by Jacques-Louis David and Georges Rouget, 1805–7 — Source.

notre dame
Rose Window on the southern façade (the original, before it was reworked 20 years later by Viollet-le-Duc) , a photograph by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, 1841 — Source.

notre dame
The Portal of the Virgin, a photograph by Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey, 1841 — Source.

notre dame
Plan for the Renovation of a Chapel in the Nave of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus, 1843 — Source.

notre dame
Saint-Ãtienne portal, a photography by Hippolyte Bayard, 1847 — Source.

notre dame
Regarding One of the Gargoyles of Nôtre-Dame de Paris, a drawing by Charles Méryon, 1853 — Source.

notre dame
The Vampire, an etching by Charles Méryon, 1853 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame, a waxed paper negative and salted paper print by Charles Nègre, ca. 1853 — Source.

notre dame
The Vampire, a photograph by Charles Nègre, 1853 — Source.

notre dame
Saint-Michel bridge, a photograph by Auguste-Hippolyte Collard, 1857 — Source.

notre dame
View of spire, roof with statuary, and cityscape beyond, photograph by Charles Marville, ca. 1860 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame, photograph by Édouard Baldus, 1860 — Source.

notre dame
Nôtre Dame, a painting by Félix_Bracquemond, 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Wall paintings of the chapels of Notre-Dame de Paris: executed on the boards of E. Viollet-Le-Duc recorded by Maurice Ouradou, 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Wall paintings of the chapels of Notre-Dame de Paris: executed on the boards of E. Viollet-Le-Duc recorded by Maurice Ouradou, 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Gargoyle at Notre Dame, unknown photographer, ca. 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Access portal of Notre Dame, unknown photographer, ca. 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Unknown photographer, ca. 1870 — Source.

notre dame
Gargoyles, Notre Dame, a photograph by Adolphe Giraudon, ca. 1875 — Source.

notre dame
The comet Donati over Paris on 4th October 1858, from “Le ciel” by Amédée Guillemin, 1877 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame de Paris, a painting by Luc-Olivier Merson, ca. 1881 — Source.

notre dame
Door portal of Notre Dame, unknown photographer, ca. 1875-1900 — Source.

notre dame
Gargolyes, unknown photographer, ca. 1875-1900 — Source.

notre dame
The Bohemian, a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1890 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, and St. Michael bridge, ca. 1890 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, interior, coloured photograph, ca. 1895 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame de Paris, by W. T. Horton and featured in his A Book of Images, 1898 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame at twilight, a painting by Charles Guilloux, ca. 1898 — Source.

notre dame
Discovery of the Lutèce enclosure, update of the surrounding wall. Photo taken from the minutes of the Municipal Commission of Old Paris, January 28, 1898 — Source.

notre dame
Stones from the restoration executed at Notre-Dame church by Viollet-le-Duc, by Commission Municipale du Vieux Paris, 1898 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, an etching by Donald Shaw MacLaughlan, 1900 — Source.

notre dame
Unknown photographer, ca. 1900 — Source.

notre dame
The Quai Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame, a painting by
Maximilien Luce, 1901 — Source.

notre dame
A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon, a painting by Henri Matisse, 1902 — Source.

notre dame
Interior, a photograph by William Henry Goodyear, 1903 — Source.

notre dame
Detail from the Last Judgement portal, a photograph by Eugène Atget, ca. 1905 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, a painting by Sylvius D. Paoletti, 1907 — Source.

notre dame
Notre-Dame Floods, a painting by Albert_Marquet, 1910 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, a painting by Paul Signac, 1910 — Source.

notre dame
Unknown photographer, ca. 1910 — Source.

notre dame
Unknown photographer, ca. 1915 — Source.

notre dame
Notre Dame, a painting by Jean-Pierre Beckius, 1921 — Source.