As lovers of both history and art, we take deep grief in the recent burning of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.
As many have already reported, the original medieval building began construction in 1163 and was not completed until 1344. This illumination, from a single leaf from the "Hours of Étienne Chevalier", shows the Cathedral as it appeared after its first 100 years.
Words are just words, and they are probably not enough to express the tragedy of this incident. We can only pay tribute to the Cathedral that was and everything that went lost - and hope that, much like it went under major renovations in the past, Notre-Dame will soon be able to shine again in all its beauty. Until then, let us take this as a reminder that all art is fragile - and as an opportunity to thank the incredible worth of the work of restorers, conservators, renovators, and anyone who regularly helps in saving works of art in great danger such as firefighters.
"The Right Hand of God Protecting the Faithful against the Demons", illumination from a single leaf from the "Hours of Étienne Chevalier", accession number 1975.1.2490, verso, 1452–1460, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.