Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Gaudy Gaudi?
January 21, 2010

I took a trip to Barcelona, Spain through the week of New Years and I had an amazing time. Before I went, everyone who I spoke to who had been to Barcelona raved about the city. Barcelona is known for its architecture and Antoni Gaudi is responsible.  This is the first of three post, each dedicated to a Gaudi creation.

Sculpture of Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi lived most of his life in Barcelona.  If you want his biography, I invite you to check out his Wikipedia page, but that is not what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about his work.  While I was in Barcelona I visited the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family),  the overwhelming intense Gaudi designed cathedral that is still being constructed.

Sagrada Família view from East

Although the Sagrada Familia is his most impressive building and possibly the most famous of Gaudi’s work, it was not my favorite.  The building is majestic and commands your attention, but there is too much going on for me.

Sagrada Família view from West

While I was there, I listened to the audio tour for the Sagrada Familia and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of detail Gaudi put into this cathedral.  It is almost too much detail.  When you depict every step of Jesus’ 33 years on earth on all four sides of a building, an aesthetic element is lost.

The Nativity Façade with Bell Towers

The Nativity Façade

Detail of the Nativity Façade

The Sagrada Familia will have three façades, two of which are completed.  My favorite is the Passion façade designed by Josep Maria Subirachs.  His rigid portrayal of Christ’s last days are stunning and progressive although they don’t seem to belong with the rest of the structure.

The Passion Façade of Sagrada Família

Scene from the Passion Facade

The completed Sagrada Familia will have a total of 18 towers, representing the twelve apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Christ himself  (in ascending order of height).  The tallest tower (Christ’s tower) will be 170 meters, 1 meter shorter than Montjuïc, a hill in Barcelona, as to not outshine God’s work.

Sketch of the completed Sagrada Família

Gaudi called the Sagrada Familia the cathedral of the generations.  The building’s construction began in 1882 and it is still not completed.  It is barely half way done and it is not expected to be completed until at least 2026.  I cannot wait to see this masterpiece completed.  Even though I do find it a bit over-designed, you cannot argue its integrity and power.  I hope Sagrada Familia is completed in my lifetime so I can see Gaudi’s vision finally become a reality.

footnote:  All of the photos are my own!