Statues that escaped Notre-Dame fire under restoration
By Maria D. Valderrama
Périgueux, France, Apr 13 (EFE).- A small army of artisans have started restoring the 16 statues of Jesus’ disciples that used to decorate the Notre-Dame spire in Paris, almost two years after the cathedral was badly damaged in a fire.
The oxidized green figures representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists, commissioned by architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-19th century, were removed from the spire for cleaning and restoration on April 11, 2019, just days before the blaze.
“On April 11 and after a month of preparation, we arrived at 8 am and at 4 pm and all the statues were in the truck,” Richard Boyer, the director Socra company that is overseeing the makeover, tells Efe.
“These statues became a federative element. For four months we did not touch them, the chief architect had other more urgent concerns, and suddenly everyone thought about them, that they had been saved,” says Boyer.
The 16 figures are kept safe in a warehouse in Périgord, a region known for its historical remains and truffle specialty.
The statue of St. Andrew has been restored to its original copper, while several others including that of St. Thomas are pending further work.
Leaning against a metal frame, the St. Thomas statue is still half open and has a shiny new metal armor placed inside.
The copper statues are made up of 15 millimeter-thick plates sculpted and shaped with a hammer. They are then welded and held by an internal piece of pure iron metal.
However, the combination of iron and copper resulted in an oxidation of the elements. To avoid this in the future, experts applied an insulator separate the metals.