Sunday, September 18, 2016

La Sagrada Familia

I don't think anything could have prepared me for my visit to La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's most famous and important work.  I wasn't ready for the scale, the inspiration, and well, just the weirdness of it all.  As we walked there from our apartment, i happened across this graffiti to make me aware of the journey.

The two main facades couldn't be more different.  The first, the facade of the nativity, was built while Gaudi was still alive.  This church has been under construction now for more than 100 years, and it's expected to be completed in 10 more years.  All of the work stopped for the Spanish Civil War, and it was years before it was continued.  For all that time, all that stood was this first facade, and part of another wall, plus an adjacent school for the children of the workers.

The opposite facade, the facade of the passion, was built much more recently.  Honestly, i found the newer sculptures to be quite stylized and ugly, but that's just me.  It was meant to show the pain of the passion and crucifixion, but i don't know.  What's amazing is that these 8 towers are the shortest ones that will be in the final building.  There are going to be 4 more at the main entry facade (which is scheduled as the final phase of construction), 4 more surrounding the central main tower, which will be dedicated to Jesus, and another one flanking that dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Nothing could have prepared me for the interior.  In fact, I don't know if i've ever even seen photos of it before experiencing it myself on this trip.  It felt like being in a Star Wars building.  The height of the space was overwhelming.  I got a stiff neck from staring up so high.  The detailing is just strange, with drippy leaf like forms at the top of the tree like columns.  The ceiling, which was able to see through my once again helpful zoom lens, is all tiled in gold, and there is stained glass everywhere.  The colors are stunning, and the space just silences you and makes you sit in wonder.

I couldn't help but keep craning my neck to look up in wonder at all the forms, color, and light that crowned this amazing space.  Truly inspiring.  It doesn't matter if you're Catholic or not, i don't know how anyone wouldn't be moved by this experience.

The colors from the windows are amazing, and the tape you listen to while walking through explains Gaudi's theory of light and color within the building.  This next photo shows the beautiful light within the curving apse at the end of the building.

The museum under the church is not to be missed either.  It was so exciting to see today's architects working with the latest technologies to do 3D printed models of the parts of the building yet to be constructed.  There were also the original Gaudi models, and new plaster casts of some of the upcoming areas, which promise to be every bit as grand, exciting, and weird as what's already there.  The main entry in particular is going to be really strange, with lots of oddly shaped cones over the main doors (which are already in place) wrapped in clouds filled with text.

 I also loved seeing this rendering of what's still to come!  We'll have to come back in 10 years, along with the millions of other admirers, to see the final project.

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