Why does the Chartres cathedral renovation have to be so damn cautious?

Martin Filler -(faux?) outraged New York dandy- is certainly a giggle. If he had any serious interest in France or the Gothic he’d know that the sexless late-republican yellowing of major churches has been going on for some time now. (If all those black virgins are to be white once more, then surely we also need murals (and reënactments) of the slaughter of Moors, hairs of the divine gonads in gold cases, and serious sermons.)

It’s a shame that LED walls are so primitive/invasive -clumsy façades hung on existing structures- because otherwise you’d be able to deck the halls with walls of media and stage in Chartres (or Quimper or Reims or in other progressive cathedrals) reïmaginings of modern Gaul -there is but one God, the Republic, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Napoleon Bonaparte- along the lines of Abel Gance’s famous triptych polyvisions:

And then the next afternoon everything could be as it was when Rudyard Kipling called in 1925:

Got into the Cathedral – on the very last fading of the twilight and it was as though one moved within the heart of a Jewel of the Faith. You know the inexpressible colour glories of Chartres – all the windows superb and some without flaw or blemish in any aspect. Last time I’d seen it the glass was all out, because of bombings by the Hun. Now all the glories were returned – rose window and all – and in that last few minutes of darkness overcoming day, the windows burned and glowed like the souls of martyrs. Don’t know when I’ve been more touched in the deeps.


COLOUR fulfils where Music has no power:
By each man’s light the unjudging glass betrays
All men’s surrender, each man’s holiest hour
And all the lit confusion of our days-
Purfled with iron, traced in dusk and fire,
Challenging ordered Time who, at the last,
Shall bring it, grozed and leaded and wedged fast,
To the cold stone that curbs or crowns desire.
Yet on the pavement that all feet have trod-
Even as the Spirit, in her deeps and heights,
Turns only, and that voiceless, to her God-
There falls no tincture from those anguished lights.
And Heaven’s one light, behind them, striking through
Blazons what each man dreamed no other knew.

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