WASHINGTON, DC, June 30, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- American Friends of Chartres (AFC) launches its first Crowdfunding Campaign on razoo.com/story/American-Friends-Of-Chartres, to finance an unprecedented project: the restoration of a 20 foot high 13th century stained-glass window from Chartres Cathedral, France, which will then travel to the United States for exhibit in a major American Museum.
Notre-Dame de Chartres, a UNESCO World Heritage monument since 1979, harbors the largest collection of 12th and 13th century stained glass under one roof in the world. Chartres is also one of the most illustrious Gothic cathedrals for the beauty and simplicity of its lines. Sharing his thoughts, Michel Pansard the Bishop of Chartres, says: "Who can count the huge crowds of pilgrims who set out on a journey to this cathedral built over 800 years ago? The crowds are from all nations, origins, peoples, and languages. They are touched by this hymn of stone and light, they sing to the glory of God and the dignity of man. The cathedral is a large picture book recounting the covenant between God and humanity, supporting Christian faith. For believers as well as non-believers, the beauty and harmony of the building echoes the mystery of existence. Chartres is a palace of peace and silence, a path towards meeting and understanding between peoples." Its emblematic steeples towering over the wheat fields, an hour away southwest of Paris is "a lasting memory for the one million Americans who visit every year", says Anne Sullivan, AFC's executive director.
The restoration of the Bakers' Window (Bay 140), at an estimated cost of $250,000, is no small endeavor. Each piece of glass will be removed one by one from its lead frame: from the rose which depicts Christ enthroned, from the two lancets depicting St. Peter and St. James the Major and from the panels below, where bakers go about their timeless tasks shaping dough and baking bread. The restorers painstakingly clean off grime, repair cracks, and repaint details to return these remarkable artworks to their original splendor. In the words of Harvard Professor Jeffrey Hamburger and advisor to AFC: "The preservation of the glass at Chartres, like that of many landmarks of world art, is an undertaking so complex that its cost exceeds the possibilities of individual institutions or even governments. A source of wonder to all those who look at them, the windows of Chartres form part of a common cultural legacy to whose restoration all those who care about preserving the past should be committed."
The exhibit of the Bakers' Window in the United States before it is set back in the clerestory of the nave of the Cathedral is an historical event: for the first time ever, 13th century stained glass from Chartres will travel to the United States. In the words of the Ambassador of France in Washington, Francois Delattre: "This is an opportunity for France to thank American donors for their generosity to support the preservation of the Cathedral through American Friends of Chartres. For the French people, this project is also a sincere gesture to honor the friendship between France and the United States as well as the memory of all the brave Americans, like Colonel Welborn Barton Griffith, who helped save the Cathedral from bombardments, at the
end of WWII. ""We are thrilled", says Dominique Lallement, AFC's president, "that millions of museum visitors will have a chance to contemplate this treasure of artistry and light."
American Friends of Chartres (www.friendsofchartres.org) is a US tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization established in 2005. It has raised more than $300,000 and financed the restoration of the five lancets of the Cathedral's South Portal for its inaugural project. All donations to AFC are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. The names of all donors are registered in the Golden Book of Donors kept open in the Cathedral, and all donors to this project will receive a special invitation to the exhibit. Donating to the Bakers' Window makes possible an unrivaled cultural event!
Link to Friends of Chartres Video and fundraising site
Link to Friends of Chartres website
Links to photos of the Chartres windows coming to a US Museum
AMERICAN FRIENDS OF CHARTRES (AFC) was founded as a non-profit organization in 2005 to assist in the restoration and preservation of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres, a priceless example of medieval art and architecture. The cathedral is a historic site of unparalleled artistic, intellectual and spiritual influence and is designated as a monument of paramount cultural significance on UNESCO's World Heritage List. AFC works in tandem with the French organization Chartres Sanctuaire du Monde, which raises funds from private individuals and organizations in France. It also works in partnership with the French Government, which approves all restoration and preservation projects
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