Paris’ fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral risks resembling a “politically correct Disneyland” under controversial plans for its renovation seen by the Daily Telegraph.
Critics have warned that the world-famous cathedral will be turned into an “experimental showroom” under plans to dramatically change the inside of the medieval building.
Under the proposed changes, confessional boxes, altars and classical sculptures will be replaced with modern art murals, and new sound and light effects to create “emotional spaces”.
There will be themed chapels on a “discovery trail”, with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, while quotes from the Bible will be projected onto chapel walls in various languages, including Mandarin.
The final chapel on the trail will have a strong environmental emphasis.
“It’s as if Disney were entering Notre-Dame,” said Maurice Culot, a prize-winning Paris-based architect, urbanist, theorist and critic who has seen the plans.
“What they are proposing to do to Notre-Dame would never be done to Westminster Abbey or Saint Peter’s in Rome. It’s a kind of theme park and very childish and trivial given the grandeur of the place,” he told The Telegraph.
A senior source close to the renovation said the plans risked turning the global beacon of Christianity into an “experimental showroom” that would “mutilate” the work of Viollet-le-Duc, the celebrated architect who restored the cathedral following the ravishes of the French Revolution in an effort to recapture the spirit of Medieval Christianity.
“Can you imagine the administration of the Holy See allowing something like this in the Sistine Chapel?,” said the senior source with access to the latest plans. “It would be unimaginable. We are not in an empty space here.”
“This is political correctness gone mad,” said the senior source. “They want to turn Notre-Dame into an experimental liturgical showroom that exists nowhere else whereas it should be a landmark where the slightest change must be handled with great care.”
Tim is right here. I too have seen the plans, and they are shocking. For example, here is what the Archbishop of Paris and his wreckovators intend to do to the side chapels:
Down comes all the medieval stuff, including stained glass, and up goes abstract modern art. They also plan to project words in light onto the walls of the chapels.