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Many of the grotesque gargoyles and chimeras of Notre-Dame were devised by the architect Viollet-le-Duc and sculptor Victor Pyanet in the 1800s. Among Notre-Dame’s most famous features, the monstrous forms reflect 19th-century ideas about human nature.
Many of the grotesque gargoyles and chimeras of Notre Dame were devised by the architect Viollet-le-Duc and sculptor Victor Pyanet in the 1800s. Among Notre Dame’s most famous features, the monstrous forms reflect 19th-century ideas about human nature.
Notre Dame was one of the first Gothic buildings to adopt flying buttresses. These braces enabled the building to rise higher by placing the weight from the roof and walls on them.
QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Carved in the 1200s, the Portal of the Virgin on Notre Dame’s west facade depicts the prophets foretelling the Virgin’s role (bottom), her death (middle), and ascent to heaven, where she is crowned queen (top).
The cathedral’s massive bells are well known, each one with its own name. Housed in the South Tower, the main bell is called Emmanuel. Recast in the 17th century, it weighs 12 tonnes—its clapper alone weighs 500 kilograms.