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Spring at Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame de Paris

Not everyone is lucky enough to be in Paris in springtime, but those who are will be in for a treat.

In a program sponsored by Vassar College, Assistant Professor of Art Andrew Tallon will present the exhibition and opening lecture Notre-Dame: Nine Centuries in the Life of a Cathedral on Saturday, May 31 at 6:30 pm at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris.

Tallon has spent nearly a decade mapping the Gothic cathedrals of France. He calls Notre-Dame of Paris “the Gothic cathedral par excellence”—one that has seemingly limitless appeal. He and his colleagues have explored the cathedral from every angle, using laser scans and three-dimensional, panoramic photographs to convey its fascinating architectural history.

Tallon has shared this intimate knowledge of its Gothic architecture—and stunning visuals of many areas of the edifice, even those not accessible to the general public—with regional alumnae/i groups across the country and with those who visit campus during Reunion.

This will be the first time he has hosted a Vassar audience inside the cathedral itself. Indeed, it is the first time any college or university has held such a program in the cathedral.

Alumnae/i in the region will have an opportunity to attend an opening reception hosted by President Hill, to view an exhibition of images mapping the history of the cathedral, and to attend a lecture by Tallon and Dany Sandron, professor of the history of the art and architecture of the Middle Ages at Paris-Sorbonne University.

Assistant Professor of Art Andrew Tallon

The point of departure for the exhibition is a three-dimensional laser scan of the cathedral created in January 2010 in conjunction with the documentary film Les cathédrales dévoilées, co-produced by PBS/Nova and Arte. With over a billion points of data, each precise to within five millimeters, the highly accurate spatial map of the building created by graphic designer Laurence Stefanon tells the story of the construction and reconstruction of Notre-Dame over the past 850 years.

Tallon calls it “a new history of the cathedral church of Paris, made explicit not in words but images.”

The exhibition, underwritten by the President’s International Advisory Council and a small group of additional alumnae/i, will be on display indefinitely and is expected to be seen by more than six million visitors to Notre-Dame over the life of its existence.

To register, please email with your name and class year, as well as the name of no more than one guest. This invitation is not transferable.

—Elizabeth Randolph

Photograph of the west façade of Notre-Dame de Paris by Édouard Baldus, 1860s, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.  Andrew Tallon photo ©Vassar College-Keith Farris 

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, May 7, 2014