Neglectful centuries have seen the great churches of the High Middle Ages lose one of their most striking characteristics: color. Traces of pigment reveal that many were once brightly polychromed, both on the interior and on the exterior.
These magnificent buildings retain their grandeur, but their walls and statues, faded to plain gray stone, would have been unacceptable to mediaeval men. Sadly, the monochromy of surviving Gothic architecture has given many the mistaken notion that Gothic architecture is not supposed to be painted. A Gothic church in full color is difficult to find nowadays; those that survive are so striking as to be presumed exceptional.
None of the great 13th century French cathedrals has been repainted, but Amiens Cathedral offers its visitors a hint of its original beauty. On summer nights and special occasions, spotlights and lasers are projected at the façade, bathing the ornaments and statuary in bright colors.