St. Modeste

Earth thirteenth century

North porch (right side)

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres, France

Ruskin cites this sculpture as an example of the effects of misguided attempts at restoration, even by those with sincerest devotion to the work of art. In essence, he believes that works of art from past ages, though of enormous value to the present, nonetheless have lifespans: after one has done one's best to care for a building or other work of art, one has to let it go rather than create a misleading simulacrum of the real thing. In other words, like his follower William Morris, he believes we should care for buildings, not let them decay and then restore them according to present taste.

  • Another view of St. Modeste
  • Photograph and text by George P. Landow 2010

    Identification of sculpture by James L. Spates and Pascal Debout with special thanks to the gentleman in the bookshop near the cathedral who let them borrow one of the books from his shop.

    You may use any of these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a website or include it in a print document.]