Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gaudi's Obsession

La Sagrada Familia on completion in 2026

Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly the landmark most associated with Barcelona. In a city of grand architectural themes, Gaudi’s extravagant church stands above all others.  It’s also Barcelona’s number on tourist attraction which is not a surprise given the line stretching for two blocks when we were there.

If you wonder how the ongoing construction of the lavish monument is paid for please refer to the queue of visitors who cough up 25 million Euros a year to take a peak.   That covers most of the costs and donations pay for the rest. And so La Sagrada Familia is an expiatory church which means that it’s paid for by donations and entrance fees and not by the Catholic Church.

The construction of architectural marvel began in 1882 and as of 2014 is deemed to be one third complete.  The current architect pledges that the church will be finished for the centenary of Gaudi’s death in 1926. 

For Gaudi La Sagrada Familia was his life’s work and an effort that left him penniless when he was run over by a tram on Barcelona’s Gran Via.  Because he appeared to be a vagrant his body was not identified for several days after he was killed. He was 74. It’s a tragic counterpoint to the design and construction of a building of which art critic Rainer Zerbst writes, “It’s probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art.” The intricate fusion of Gothic and Art Nouveau forms supports the hyperbole.

La Sagrada Familia is not a cathedral which must be the seat of a bishop but was designated a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVl in 2010.   One does ponder what it takes to be a major basilica.

The images shown herein are from the single unerased memory card that survived the trip and that’s only because the hard drive was dead before I shot them. I was perfectly capable of losing it too

And for those who are clamoring to know the results of my informal yet highly sophisticated but not exactly solicited poll asking whether I should to return to Spain to capture a semblance of my lost but not forgotten photographs the tally is eight for and three against. That’s a super majority or something like that.


Daryl A. Black said...

Although it is probably visited and photographed as much, if not more than the Alhambra, I don't see photographs of Gaudi's obsession that frequently. Thus, it is indeed wonderful that these were among the shots that survived the trip. Your writing and photographs make it come alive on the screen. Love the very intimate photograph of the statuary and columns at the base of the basilica with lovely Peggy very intent on photographing it. The fact that Gaudi was run over by a tram and his body thought to be that of a vagrant is the ultimate irony. If you don't return to Espana now, then 2026 is a must do!

Steve Immel said...

Oh, I'm going. Count on it.

John Farnsworth said...

I've been aware of this wonderment for as long as I can remember. Now, thanks to your images, I very much look forward to someday visiting it. Nice job.