On Friday, June 10, 2022, Bank of America announced the recipients of the 2022 Bank of America Art Conservation Project grants. Notre-Dame de Paris was chosen as one of 19 cultural restoration projects from nine countries to receive an Art Conservation Project grant. The funds will be used to restore the statuary and the marquetry of the floor of the choir that was damaged in the April 2019 fire. This will help prepare the cathedral for its reopening in 2024.
Generous Support to Restore the Choir Statuary and Floor Marquetry
In 1968, King Louis XIV asked Monsignor Louis-Antoine de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, to refit the choir of Notre-Dame Cathedral and to dedicate the sanctuary to his father’s vow to the Virgin Mary. The work was completed at the beginning of the 18th century and preserved by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in a major restoration in the 19th century.
During the tragic fire in 2019, the choir was damaged and needs a thorough restoration before the reopening of the cathedral.
The conservation effort is focused on the three main baroque statues of the Vow of Louis XIII, the six Angels of the Crucifixion and the floor of the choir. The white marble statues of the Vow of Louis XIII were created by Nicolas Coustou (1658–1733), Guillaume Coustou (1677–1746) and Antoine Coysevox (1640–1720). Although they were not severely impacted by the fire, they are coated with soot, ash and lead dust. The hand of Christ in Coustou’s Pieta, 1723, is covered with crystallized lead.
The restoration protocol includes the cleaning of the statues, the restoration of their bronze and their final shining. The six bronze angels are likewise covered in soot, ash and dust; they will be cleaned, and the patina of the bronze will be restored.
The floor and the marquetry of the choir were seriously damaged by the fall of several of the voussoirs (stones used to construct arches) of the vaults of the choir. The restoration process will include the full cleaning of the floor, the replacement of damaged and destroyed polychromatic tiles, renewal of all the joints of the marquetry, restoration of the original patina and a full shining of the floor.
About the Art Conservation Project
Since 2010, Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project has supported the conservation of more than 6,000 individual pieces including paintings, sculptures, and archaeological and architectural pieces of critical important to cultural heritage and the history of art. More than 200 projects across 39 countries have been managed by nonprofit cultural institutions that receive grant funding to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of deterioration.
According to Brian Siegel, global arts and heritage executive at Bank of America, “Through the Art Conservation Project, we have an opportunity to shine a light on the perpetual need for conservation and preservation. Our support helps ensure that future generations can celebrate and enjoy these historic works of art for years to come.”
We are honored and grateful to be chosen as a recipient of the 2022 Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant. This generous support is essential to continue the restoration progress.