Ewa Łużyniecka
Authenticity and the 19th-century restoration of the cathedral in Angoulême

    The article deals with the 19th century reconstruction of the French cathedral in Angoulême and on this basis it presents the then approach to authentic elements in historical buildings. The restoration of the cathedral was carried out under the supervision of the French architect Paul Abadie, a disciple of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The building was supposed to be stylistically uniform and refer only to Gothic – all other layers and styles were insignificant. When reconstructing the cathedral it was believed that there existed ‘ideal’ solutions to be duplicated in the particular buildings. As a result, many modern fragments of the building were demolished and new ones were erected which had never existed before. When we look at these design decisions from a certain distance, we can conclude that the restoration doctrine popularised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and his disciples did not stand the test of time. From the very beginning it was the subject of sharp criticism, while nowadays it is considered to be far-reaching and often even destructive.

Key words: restoration, cathedral, Angoulême, France

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