Biscornet, The Devil and The Cathedral of Notre Dame

Cathedral of Notre Dame
Cathedral of Notre Dame

Art is such a hard thing to come by. However, as an artist myself, creating art is harder. I should rephrase. Creating art in the eyes of a talented artist is easy. Art that gets a non-artist interested is the hard part. Non-artists scoff at art like anyone can do it. They laugh, or say it doesn’t make sense. If you’re up for the challenge, I encourage you to make some art. Making it is easy but making art that someone loves is tough. Chances are people will disappoint you. It’s like cooking for someone. Perhaps you’re not the best cook. But all you wanted to do was say, “Hey I love you and I made you this meal to nourish your body and keep you alive.” The meal is just a metaphor for your love. This is where Biscornet comes in.

In order to tell you this tale we have to go back in time…

The Medieval Times

In the 1300’s life was tough. Medical advances were primitive to say the least. Plumbing did not exist and only the rich survived and lived a full life. Working and making money has always been a sure way to survive in a world where everything revolves around it. However, being an artist has its draw backs. The only way a true artist can survive is to make it profitable, not just beautiful.

In this sense, Biscornet had discovered the miracle that is freelance work. He was proud of his work and was quickly getting a reputation for the best artist with fine craftsmanship. His ironwork was getting a grand reputation. Everyone wanted a commissioned piece for their building. It’s an artists dream, recognition. With recognition comes work. With work comes money and fortune.

All things considered, things were going well for Biscornet. It’s no wonder The Cathedral of Notre Dame architect called upon Biscornet to make the final touches. He was commissioned to mark the Cathedral with his finest work.

Biscornet, determined to make this his best work, took on the challenge. What better way to show the world your work than to be displayed on a building with everyone’s eyes on it?

The project was simple enough. Craft the doors. Make it look great. Don’t screw this up.

The Obsession

Fine craftsmanship depicted by details of the door here. Picture by afrenchfryeinparis.com

Obsessed with his work Biscornet stressed himself out. Not only is this to be his finest work, but it’s for the finest building. He worked himself all day and all night. He needed help. However, in a time where everyone else was mediocre, there was no help to be found. He searched and sent for assistance. No one would come.

He grew tired and weak from weeks of obsessing, not sleeping or eating. He wanted this, but most importantly he needed this.

One evening. There was a knock on his door. The call for help was finally answered. However, the man entered the room, only to find Biscornet laying on the floor, unconscious from overwork but more likely from stress. Biscornet lay on the floor of his, already finished piece of work, the doors of the cathedral. The piece was beautiful and would surely awe the world for generations to come.

To this day, people flock to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in awe of how beautiful and ornate it is. Every detail, from the windows to the architecture to the doors.

The Rumors

Biscornet died shortly after this project. It was his finest work yet.To this day, modern day ironsmiths can’t figure out how he managed to create such beauty with the tools of his day.

Rumors spread that Biscornet had contacted the devil to help him finish. The devil, being who he is, agreed in exchange for his soul. It would be the best and finest. More importantly, it would be at the entrance of the church of god. How manipulative? Creating a doorway to hell at the entrance of a building where millions would surely enter. Genius.

These rumors spread like wildfire and it only got worse when the doors wouldn’t function. It turns out no one could figure out how to open the doors to the Cathedral. Nevertheless, grand opening day would arrive and a cheerful celebration would ensue.

Everything was in order. There was a crowd. The elite was here and so was the Holy. As the ceremony commenced a priest, contracted to bless the cathedral, walked up to the doors, prayed and threw holy water on its doors to finalize the blessing.

The strange part was, even though no one could figure out how to open the doors, upon throwing holy water on them, the doors opened by themselves.

Biscornet

Who was Biscornet? Everyone speculates. Perhaps the rumors are true and he really contacted the devil in exchange for his soul. The fact that he died shortly after only added to the rumors. However, there are some people who say Biscornet was the devil himself. Biscornet, the name itself is a play on words in the French language. If you break it down. “Bis,” means two (or bi in English) and “cornet” can be derived as horned or horns. In other words, this man was the two-horned man commissioned to create the doors for the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

notre dame cathedral doors
The door with all of its ironwork. Picture by afrenchfryeinparis.com.
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