The Cathedral of Notre Dame

Provides a visual, spatial and social interpretation and analysis of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Art has always had a social aspect that is a representation of the inner functions of the culture from which art is created. Formal theories on the social nature of art, however, were not formed until the 16th century when the waxing and waning of artistic movements was seen to be affected by changing tastes in art patrons. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many different and diverse social theories emerged to draw connections between art and society – which created which? French socialist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, said that ‘art for art’s sake’ was an impossibility and that art sprung, regardless of the artist’s inspiration or motivation from the archetypal (a more modern term) forces that governed the society, often invisibly. Art stands, in many ways, as a social criticism as well as an honoring of the society. Art is a commentary, on some level, about the artist’s perception of the world. That perception is shaped by the undercurrents of political, religious and social life of the particular time. Identity, in particular, in art is marked by a defined or hidden connection to the audience with recognizable symbolic language. In the case of architecture, we have the ultimate visual special creation which creates its own distinct sense of identity. The Cathedral of Notre Dame stands as one of the most significant structures embodying both visual and spatial constructs to modify the viewer’s and visitor’s perception of the self.