Arts and Culture

These are some of the treasures thought to be inside Notre Dame

People watch as fire fighters douse flames of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau - RC17DCBE9F60

The south-facing circular rose window is one of the most famous pieces of stained glass in the world. Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Amanda Shendruk
Visual Journalist, The Things Team, Quartz
Share:
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how France is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

France

Notre Dame is one of the world’s great works of architecture. But the cathedral itself is not the only masterpiece on its grounds. Housed in its walls are many historically and artistically valuable items acquired over centuries. As the Paris landmark burns, noted paintings, pipe organs, religious relics, and one-of-a-kind stained-glass installations are at risk.

As first responders try to salvage the art and other items, a priest from the cathedral told a Paris Match journalist that artworks and relics have been saved.

Here are some of the most famous treasures believed to be inside the cathedral at the time of the blaze:

Notre Dame’s stained glass and rose windows

The south-facing circular rose window is one of the most famous pieces of stained glass in the world. Notre Dame has multiple windows of this type, but this one, built in 1260, became the pattern for rose windows in cathedrals around Europe. Today, the glass is not original, as centuries of damage and restoration—including a fire in 1830—have altered it.

The cathedral has about 50 “Mays” of Notre Dame (link in French), large paintings that were commissioned that month nearly every year from 1630 to 1707. The following were on display at the time of the fire (titles translated from their original French):

Image: Quartz

There were at least two additional significant pieces of art on display in the cathedral: The Visitation, painted by Jean Jouvenet in 1716; and Saint Thomas Aquinas, Fountain of Wisdom painted in 1648 by Antoine Nicolas.

Notre Dame’s organs

The Great Organ may be the most well-known organ in the world. It has five keyboards and nearly 8,000 pipes. The cathedral has two other organs, though they are significantly smaller.

There were 37 representations of the Virgin Mary inside the cathedral. The most famous of those is a Madonna and child called Our Lady of Paris.

Other statues include:

Image: Quartz

Notre Dame's relics

Notre Dame is also home to the Relics of Sainte-Chapelle, which include what is believed to be the crown of thorns placed on Jesus at his crucifixion, and a fragment of the cross on which he died.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

This architect is using urban design to bring communities together

Andrea Willige

May 29, 2024

4:31

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum