Art: Chartres:Through a Glass Darkly

Fifty-four miles outside Paris, Notre Dame de Chartres stands as the epitome of the medieval church builders' faith and skill. The most awesome of their triumphs are the stained-glass windows that tower like blue jeweled cliffs in the dark nave: 2,500 square meters of glass, 5% of the entire surviving legacy of medieval glassworkers.

Avalanche of Protest. The cathedral's sacramental gloom, however, comes in part from a buildup of dirt, pollutants, fungi and algae on the windows over years of exposure. At the end of 1976, the French government's Department of Historic Monuments finished...

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