Wednesday, May 4, 2022
A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Outgoing Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses
On Monday, April 15, 2019, the world watched in shocked disbelief as the great cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris was engulfed in flames. In the aftermath, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that this famous icon of French culture would be restored in five years. Now, three years into the process, the Humanities Speaker Series arranged for a look behind the scenes of the great restoration process by bringing together a Zoom webinar on Friday, April 1, 2022, featuring several medieval art historians who are intimately involved in the work.
The panel of speakers included Dany Sandron of the Université Sorbonne in Paris, who was joined by American medieval art and architectural historians, Lindsay Cook of Ball State University and Jennifer Feltman of the University of Alabama. The discussion was hosted by Valencia’s own medieval technology historian, George Brooks, professor, humanities, who coordinates the Humanities Speaker Series, and who also serves as the current president of AVISTA (the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art). Dr. Cook, a specialist in medieval roofing, and Dr. Feltman, a specialist in Reims cathedral and the long lives of medieval buildings, are also members of AVISTA.
The webinar had a large attendance of 175 people from around the world as the event was advertised by AVISTA members at their home institutions and in architectural programs across the country. During the 90-minute discussion, topics explored included the origins of the Notre-Dame fire, the extent of damage, the nature of restoring a 900-year-old structure, the surprising discoveries made, the training of modern builders in the techniques of the Middle Ages and the role of memory and culture surrounding the monument’s long life.
The talk also paid tribute to the late Andrew Tallon, architectural historian and former member of AVISTA, who became known internationally for his work in digitally mapping Notre-Dame cathedral with a billion laser points, creating the most accurate and detailed 3D-model of the monument ever created, which has been invaluable in the restoration process.