La Sainte-Chapelle

Once beneath this gothic canopy sat the Crown of Thorns bought by Louis IX who had the Chapel build especially.

Once beneath this gothic canopy sat the Crown of Thorns bought by Louis IX who had the Chapel build especially.

That most excellent of personages, Prosper Mérimée, Inspecteur Général des Monuments Historiques had a momentary lapse in good taste when he appointed Viollet-le-Duc as second inspector of the restoration of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

This….what shall I call him?…Vandal?…Goth?… promptly covered all surfaces that were not glass with his signature mock-gothic patterns of bright blue, russet red and profuse quantities of gold. What was beneath I cannot say and I was frankly surprised to see that he actually restrained himself enough not to give the few figures therein spangly costumes. The canopied platform that held the crown of thorns for which the entire chapel was built looked suspiciously Viollet-le-Duccish but since it was one of the few pictures I took in the chapel that actually was not blurred by my trembling outrage I include it here.

Thankfully the windows escaped his attention and it is impossible not to be captivated by the light cascading through the soaring panels.

If one can ignore the scores of tourists thrusting their camera phones in the air while ignorantly praising the painting effects as genuine 13th century while a disembodied voice goes “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” at regular intervals through discreetly hidden speakers to remind the throng that they are actually in a place of worship it is a truly magical experience.

Naturally I  loved it, just for the windows sake and the strange feeling that you are in a place where eight hundred years ago a devout king prostrated himself on the floor before a crown of thorns in a chamber fashioned from shards of coloured light.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

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