Sagrada Familia - Gaudi's crowning glory
This cathedral, well it actually is a church , is Antoni Gaudi's finest masterpiece and is still under construction since it started in 1882. Mostly cathedrals have taken over hundred years to build. This one is supposedly reaching completion in 2026 ( also Gaudi's 100th anniversary) which is comparatively I would say is quicker on historic cathedral building standards. It is so unique that there is nothing like it in this world. It is impressive, it is whacky, it is " Oh- my - God". I was totally dumbfounded by it's intricacy. The only expression that came out of me was " WOW". Over 8000 people can worship inside this church.On the day I was there it was busy like a Walmart on a Black Friday! Just so you know, the four artists who have made a lasting impression on the city of Barcelona are Gaudi, Miro, Picasso and Dali.
As I was standing and looking up the exterior of this fascinating church I realized why Gaudi is considered the Father of Modernista architecture movement. From outside this church looks like a super supersized sandcastle as in a fairy tale. Gaudi's works adorn the city. His inspirations from nature is very obvious in his work. Gaudi grew up in the countryside in southern Catalonia, amidst and around natural beauty. As a youngster he suffered from bouts of rheumatism that kept him from playing with other kids . So his mother took him for long nature walks. Hence, he used nature as his muse throughout his creations. At Sagrada Familia the trees in the main nave are a good example. You feel as if you have entered an enchanting forest. The trunks open up into a stone canopy. As I craned my neck up to look where the trees branch out a tingle ran down my spine. The ceiling is jaw dropping magnificent, as if blooming sunflowers are hanging upside down. Looking around , I noticed mineral forms on the capitals crowning the temple. Lots of wildlife- trees and plants and vines adorn the columns and the doors along with spirals like snails, amphibians and reptiles. Nature is definitely Gaudi's guiding aesthetics.
As you walk around you notice the church is illuminated by blue, orange and pink hues from the stained- glass windows. The atmosphere is airy, bright, warm, serene , peaceful and full of prayers. The choir was softly singing on one side of the church.
If for a minute you take the traditional church out of your mind you might think you are in a place of worship in some extraterrestrial region. Beyond doubt it is one of the most awesome sites in the world. It certainly symbolizes an uncompromising pursuit of perfection.
As your eye travels from the floor to the ceiling it seems as if Gaudi the artist, the designer , an architect is striving to unite the Earth with the Heavens.Using a magnolia leaf as inspiration, he experimented with parabolic design, a method of building curves from straight lines. By 1915 Gaudi was studying geometry researching hyperboloids and was once again tinkering with nature. The capitals of the column in the nave are modeled with the scars that form when a tree branch is cut off, which creates transitions between the trunk and the branches of the trees. Gaudi adopted this growth pattern for the design of his columns using Oleander branches as his model.
For the exterior elements, Gaudi studied the crystallization of minerals such as pyrites, fluorite and galena. He incorporated these polyhedral forms into giant fruit cones, colored with Venetian ceramics that crown the Basilica towers.
During his lifetime Antoni Gaudi said that" The great book, always open and which we should make an effort to read, is that of nature". I left with a feeling as if I have read volumes. I left feeling inspired .