[PHOTOS] This is how the dirty stained glass windows of Notre-Dame de Paris are restored

[PHOTOS] This is how the grimy stained glass windows of Notre-Dame de Paris are being restored. s

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The stained glass windows of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, spared but very dirty by the fire that ravaged the cathedral in April 2019, are being restored in French workshops of master glassmakers to whom the Germany lends a hand. 

This is one of the first operations of the restoration site of the interior of the cathedral with a view to its reopening for worship and visits scheduled for 2024. “A tense objective”, admitted Friday General Jean-Louis Georgelin , in charge of the restoration of the building.

This jewel of Gothic art was partially ravaged by a gigantic fire on April 15, 2019 This caused the collapse of its frame, its famous spire, its clock and part of its vault, under the dumbfounded gaze of millions of people around the world. The cathedral has since been closed to visitors.

With eight French workshops selected by call for tenders, master glassmakers and painters-glassmakers from the workshop of the Kölner Dom, Cologne Cathedral, take part in this delicate work in order to restore their shine to the stained glass windows of the nave, choir, transept and sacristy, according to the public institution responsible for the conservation and restoration of the cathedral.

The stained glass windows of the chapels and galleries are cleaned in Notre-Dame.

Among the French workshops, the Manufacture Vincent-Petit in Troyes (north-east) is responsible for bringing back to light several of the 39 “large high bays”, surfaces of approximately “3 m wide by 8 to 9 m high” , explains master glassmaker Flavie Vincent-Petit to AFP.

“The stained glass windows in the choir date from the 19th century when 'architect] Viollet Le Duc wants to rediscover the subdued light of the Middle Ages and represent biblical and religious figures; those in the nave date from the 1960s and are of abstract inspiration,” she explains.

Contrary to what the Gothic building might suggest, only the three large rose windows of the cathedral are medieval. “They were not affected by the fire and are not part of the restoration program,” she said. 

< p>About fifteen French master glassmakers proceed in several stages: after the “removal” (dismantling) of the glass stained glass windows assembled in lead and fixed on a support called “locksmith”, they document their original state and number them. 

They then “micro-vacuum” the dust and particles, then clean the dirtiest parts with a cotton swab with a mixture of water and alcohol, as well as to repair a few cracks. 

The stained glass windows have not been cleaned since their creation more than 150 years ago and are very dirty despite the color of the glass tinted in the mass at 1300 °C which has not disappeared over time, underlines Mrs Vincent-Petit.