Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Couple of Surprises

During our Paris visit last month, we found two surprises: the restoration of the interior at St. Eustache in Les Halles, and the statues around the outside of La Madaleine (which had been obstructed by scaffolding before--or we just had not seen!). That's just one of the reasons to return to a place you love: you just might see something new.

The restoration at St. Eustache is cleaning the grime off the beautiful decorations in the side chapels. So many Paris churches contain great artwork in their chapels and aisles, but with the grime of so many centuries of candle and incense smoke, the artwork is obscure. Here is an example of the work that's been achieved along the right aisle of St. Eustache--this "Ecce Homo" statue has been cleaned and the decorative trim around the window, above the statue, and in the chapel repainted:

You can see what the statue used to look like here. This picture shows the ceiling of the chapel. gloriously restored:
On the left side of the aisle, many of the paintings were still covered with soot and restoration tape holding them to the wall, so St. Eustache restorers have a long way to go. It may have been that they started at the back of the church with the chapel of Our Lady (with the statue by Pigalle):
I'll post on La Madaleine another day. By the way, there is an English Reformation connection here in St. Eustache. One of Queen Henrietta Maria's ladies-in-waiting, Susan Feilding, the Countess of Denbigh, followed her mistress in exile to Paris. There she became a Catholic and patron of convert poet Richard Crashaw. The Countess died in 1652, and is buried in St. Eustache. I guess I'll just have to go back and find her tomb to take a picture!