[Sculpture of Virgin and Child, Notre Dame, Paris]
Auguste Mestral (French, Rans 1812–1884 Rans)
Salted paper print from paper negative
35.1 x 27.6 cm (13 13/16 x 10 7/8 in. )
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2000
Not on view
The mid-nineteenth-century's renewed interest in France's medieval past resulted in the restoration-sometimes heavy handed, sometimes imaginative-of many of the nation's most important monuments. The work on Notre Dame, which suffered deliberate damage during the Revolution and neglect in the years that followed, began in 1845 and lasted some twenty-five years. Under the direction of Viollet le Duc, new statuary was commissioned, including this sculpture of the Virgin and Child, a work by Adolphe Victor Geoffroy-Dechaume. In Mestral's photograph, which comes from the Geoffroy-Dechaume archives, the heavenly figures remain earthbound on the construction site; shortly after, they would be lifted to a central position on the west façade, above the main portal and in front of the rose window.
Adolphe-Victor Geoffroy Dechaume (sculptor, 1816-1892); his descendents; Alain Paviot
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Napoleon III and Paris," June 9–September 7, 2009.
Chappey, Frédéric. De Plâtre et d'Or: Geoffroy-Dechaume, Sculpteur Romantique de Viollet-le-Duc. L'Isle-Adam: Val d'oise editions, 1998. p. 174.