March 15, 2014
This is a great interview and …with English subtitles! So enjoy every bit!
From the announcer’s Tweeter:
He really has such a beautiful smile! Makes me smile too!
Something that made me smile too were some of the beautiful places I visited in Spain. Today, I will start with my favorite:
Basilica De La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Spain.
To write about this I used my experience while being there, and reading from the official website of La Sagrada Familia and Wikipedia. I took all the photos with my iphone 8.
La Sagrada Familia means the holy family, meaning the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus Christ. It is one of the most beautiful basilicas in the world. From a taxi driver in Barcelona I learned that La Sagrada Familia was not a Cathedral but a Basilica. A Basilica is higher in ranking than a Cathedral. The Basilica is under the governance of the pope, while a cathedral is under a Bishop… The word cathedral comes from the Latin cathedra, meaning “throne.”
It was designed by Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan master architect. His presence is everywhere in Barcelona and he is the father of the “Modernista” Art Style. Modernista is a modern style that was part of a huge current of modern styles that popped up in various European countries all with their distinct styles. In France its equivalent was Art Nouveau for example. Yet the center of this style was in Barcelona as the Catalan people were trying to have their own identity, distinct from any other part of Spain. It spread into all decorative arts including carpentry, ceramics and glass making as well as poetry, theater, sculpture and painting. Modernisme (in English) was active from 1888 (the First Barcelona World Fair) to 1911 (the death of Joan Maragall, the most important Modernista poet).
The Basilica is set to be finished by the year 2026! By then it will have 18 towers! The middle tower is dedicated to Jesus Christ. Another that is being built right now is dedicated to his mother, the Virgin Mary. 4 towers honor the writers of the gospels: the evangelists Mark, Luke, John and Matthew. The remaining 12 towers represent each of Jesus Christ’s Apostles.
I have visited La Sagrada Familia twice. The first time was in 2002. Back then it was a lot like a construction site…as it had only part of the ceiling completed! I had always wanted to go back…finally my dream come true…it looked so different on the inside!!! Here are my best photos from this visit. I will sprinkle in some great YouTube Videos about the use of geometry and comment on the amazing architecture and artwork. I love Gaudí and this is a way to show my appreciation, to spread knowledge about his masterpiece! his work is fascinating and so beautiful!
The day we went there was almost comical… when my friend, her husband and I headed towards the Sagrada Familia, it started to rain! Big huge drops… we rushed are walking and then suddenly you start seeing more and more people and you know you are getting close and then…boom! There it is! This enormous structure captures your eyes! This was that moment… notice the construction of the four towers representing the Evangelists.
Now I will write about the different parts in the Basilica. The only I will leave out is the Glory Facade as it was blocked off when I visited.
The Nativity Facade
In the next photo you will see the Nativity Facade. The facade faces the rising sun to the northeast, a symbol for the birth of Christ. It is divided into three porticos or doorways, each of which represents a theological virtue (Hope, Faith and Charity). Hope is the portal of the Virgin Mary, Faith is the portal of Saint Joseph and Charity is the portal of Jesus Christ.) The Tree of Life rises above the door of Jesus in the portal of Charity. To see more details and meanings on them you can go HERE.
Four towers complete the facade and are each dedicated to a Saint (Matthias the Apostle, Saint Barnabas, Jude the Apostle, and Simon the Zealot).
It looks almost baroque as it has so many details. It also gives you the feeling of a cave.
This is a video that shows how they bring the sculptures to their places…
The green are leaves carved out of metal and they are also present in the doors:
Walking in one can only gasp. The light is so beautiful in this basilica! It is full of color as it filters through stained windows of very strong colors, reflecting on columns of different colors:
Cr. Blog Mozaico.org
Gaudi makes use of many geometric shapes in the structure of the building like hyperboloids and paraboloids. You can read all about the geometry HERE. But if you don’t have time, this is a quick video about hyperoboloids.
These is the view inside of the basilica of the four towers dedicated to the gospels. Each has an animal that represents them: an eagle for John: representing the omnipotent eye of god.
A winged man for Matthew: representing the humanity of Christ.
A lion for Marc (remember Venice?): representing Christ as a king.
Cr. Enthusiastical.Wordpress.com . By the way this page is really well done if you like to read all about Religious Art and Architecture.
and a winged Calf: representing the sacrifice of Christ.
Gaudi tried to recreate a forest inside the Basilica, with the canopy located in the ceiling.
Cr. La Sagrada Familia.org
This is a video that I took there… it does make you feel as if you were in a forest surrounded by trees…
I learned that the different colors on the columns is due to the use of different materials to make it. The more weight they have to hold, the stronger the materials that is is made of.
Cr. La Sagrada Familia.org
The Passion Facade
The Passion Facade expresses the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. In contrast to the nativity that is very happy and decorated, the passion facade has elongated lined geometric severe looking figures with lots of empty spaces. It looks really sad. Some of the figures look scary.
This next scene depicts the kiss of death by Judas… the square on the left is a magic square! Invented by Benjamin Franklin, if you add the numbers in every direction it adds to 33, the age Christ had when he died.
It holds important liturgical artifacts and is where the priests change and get ready for mass.
Inside View: I loved all the circle reflections!
The end of the towers and some of the structures have fruits and other whimsical toppings. They speak to prosperity and the fruits of the earth and also Gaudi’s great creativity! Who on Earth would think of something like that? Only him!
Cr. Etsuro Sotoo
Cr. Mireia Garcia
Cr. Blog of the Courtier
Last but not least enjoy this amazing video that shows how the Basilica will look when completed. 2026!
I wish to see it again when it’s completed!
HERE is a link for a Virtual Visit of the Basilica.
Well, I hope you enjoyed Gaudi and his incomparable masterpiece!
Short history of its construction.
This comes from the Official Website of the Basilica De La Sagrada Familia.
The beginnings of the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, known as the Sagrada Familia, go back to 1866 when Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer founded the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph, which in 1874 began campaigning for the construction of an expiatory temple dedicated to the Holy Family. In 1881, enabled by various donations, the Association purchased a 12,800m² plot of land, located between the streets of Marina, Provença, Sardenya, and Mallorca, to build the temple on.
The first stone was laid on St Joseph’s day, 19 March, 1882, in a ceremony presided over by the Bishop of Barcelona, Josep Urquinaona. It signaled the start of construction, first in the crypt located under the apse, following the Neo-gothic design drawn up by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, the Sagrada Familia’s first architect. After a short while, due to disagreements with the promotors, he resigned from the post of chief architect and the job fell to Antoni Gaudí.
After taking over the project in 1883, Antoni Gaudí continued work on the crypt, which was finished in 1889. Later he began work on the apse, while donations were received at a steady rate. After receiving a substantial anonymous donation, Gaudí proposed a new and grander design. He proposed abandoning the old Neo-gothic plan in favour of a design that was more monumental and innovative, both in regard to the form and structure as well as the construction. Gaudí’s design consisted of a large church with a floor plan based on a Latin cross and soaring towers. It was to be immensely symbolic, both architecturally and sculpturally, and convey the teachings of the Gospels and the Christian Church.
In 1892 the foundations for the Nativity facade were started. This facade was built first because, as Gaudí himself put it, “If, instead of building this decorated, richly ornamented facade, we had started with the hard, bare and skeletal Passion facade, people would have rejected it.” In 1894 the apse facade was finished, and the Rosary portal, one of the entrances to the cloister on the Nativity side, was finished in 1899.
In 1909 Gaudí built the Sagrada Familia provisional school buildings, for children of Sagrada Familia workers and local children, on the south-west corner of the site. In the following year, 1910, a model of the Nativity facade was displayed at the Grand Palais in Paris in an exhibition featuring Gaudí’s work organised by his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. The Pasion facade was designed in 1911.
In 1914 Gaudí decided to concentrate exclusively on the construction of the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, a fact which explains why he did not undertake any other major work in the later years of his life. He became so involved that he lived his final months close by his studio workshop; a space located next to the apse used for producing scale models, drawings and designs, sculptures and for taking photographs, amongst other activities.
In 1923 he produced the final design for the naves and roofs. Construction work however progressed slowly. The first bell tower on the Nativity facade, 100 metres high and dedicated to Saint Barnabus, was finished on 30 November 1925. This was the only tower Gaudí saw completed. On 10 June 1926 he died as a result of injuries sustained three days earlier when he was tragically knocked down by a tram. On 12 June he was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia, where his mortal remains rest to this day.
Over all these years a sizable group of architects, draughtsmen, sculptors and modellers collaborated with Gaudí on the construction.
After the death of Gaudí, his close collaborator Domènec Sugrañes took over the management of the works until 1938.
In 1930 the bell towers on the Nativity facade were finished, and in 1933 the Faith portal and central cypress tree were also completed.
In July 1936, after the military uprising and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, revolutionaries set fire to the crypt, burnt down the provisional school of the Sagrada Familia and destroyed the studio workshop. Original plans, drawings and photographs were lost and many large-scale plaster models were broken. It should be pointed out that, from when Gaudí took the helm in 1883 and despite these acts of vandalism, work on the Sagrada Familia, although disrupted, never came to a complete stop, and has always gone ahead according to the architect’s original concept.