Notre Dame Cathedral Burns and Civilization Weeps

Kenneth Clark Notre Dame

Centuries of history have disappeared before our disbelieving eyes.

An unspeakable tragedy as we watch the past burn away. Like everyone who gathered around screens big and small to watch this terrible loss for humanity, I felt united in our shared helplessness as Notre Dame Cathedral burned before our weeping eyes.

That such beauty and history has perished is just too painful to comprehend.

I couldn’t help but be drawn back 50 years earlier  when the history, the magnificence and grandeur of Notre Dame was brought into our own humble living room screens in the opening scene of the PBS series Civilization. This landmark series that changed television, is recalled today with bittersweet vividness.

At the start of the 1969 series the Scottish art historian Kenneth Clark mused with his patrician confidence:

“What is Civilization? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms yet. But I think I can recognize it when I see it.”

Turning to Notre Dame, he then added, “And I’m looking at it now.”

Now when we look we can do nothing but weep. Today some of civilization has been lost.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: