Thursday, 3 March 2016

Emotional punch in my artistic soul - Basílica de la SAGRADA FAMÍLIA

  «The intimacy and depth is that of a wood, which will be the interior of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia.» A. Gaudí

The Temple of the Sagrada Familia is a truly echanting place. It will mesmerize your vision and hypnotize you with its unparalleled beauty. It will take your breath away. You do not have to be religious to be overwhelmed with glory, power and ingenuity of this architectural wonder.  
No words can describe and no pictures can depict the fascinating interior  of the basilica . I was moved to tears by the beauty inside this stunning building and the way the light breaks through and oozes through stained glass. The stained glass creates a gorgeous kaleidoscope of color -  warm,  splendid, opulent, otherwordly. Gaudi had such a special, unique way of looking at things and the Sagrada Familia is his signature style structure and the most famous artistic expression to that way of looking. 

 Gaudi himself declared that he was a geometer. And, working on the premise of this modest statement, the artist proceeded to redefine the entire concept of traditional geometry applied to architecture. He abandoned straight lines and began to experiment with curved forms found in the nature: spirals, cones and parabolas. He incorporated an abundance of natural motifs into the structure: trees, flowers, leaves, even funghi (especially mushrooms). These sinuous, botanical shapes found a perfect ally in natural light, which Gaudi used in an innovative way, making it embrace and envelop his buildings to achieve sculptural effects.

Gaudi׳s structural dendriforms (treelike columns) are one of the earliest and finest examples of making treelike concrete-made branching structures inspired by nature. When in early 20th century the trend of structural minimalism was becoming popular, Gaudi׳s treelike sculpted structural supports, in contrast, were stunningly appealing and uniquely special in the field of architecture.

On my travels, I have been fortunate to see some breathtakingly beautiful structures made by man, from Notre-Dame Cathedral to iconic majestic fortress of Edinburgh Castle, but it's hard to explain why the Sagrada Familia may be the one that will have the most profound and long-lasting effect on me. The branched columns and tree-like ornaments conjure up a picture of a forest sanctuary. For the first few minutes I was so touched by the surreal beauty of this unonventional church that I could not think, photograph or even move! I was spellbound. I had goosebumps contemplating the interior of Sagrada Familia and listening to Ave maria (Shubert). When Ave Maria song filled the temple, the whole experience of being surrounded by Gaudi's fantabulous creation became even more profound and moving. Listening to heavenly voice singing Ave Maria in Sagrada Familia evoked a purely transcendental state in me. Never felt anything like this before. Such a  mysterious feeling,so hard to put into words, a feeling of totally merging with something inexplicably beautiful and of glimpsing other worlds or existences. I was moved to tears. I suppose I would be equally moved watching Northern Lights. The building is tremendously atmospheric, its ambient effects rest on the  ethereal play of light and colour. Some say that the forest-like interior of the church feels alive and indeed it does. The incessant indefinite procession of colours and lights that ooze and glisten, green and powder in stained glass create the remarkable effect of freshness and joyful beauty. There is something extraordinarily fresh and glorious about the basilica - it is as radiant and beautiful as  sunshower (meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining). It shines with its secrets (Gaudi's secrets). It is glimmering with gorgeous colours that make elongated glints upon the marble floors. It made me sad because I had never seen such a beautiful thing before. It made me sad that those who are close to me could not see it together with me! It made me misearable to think that there are so many people out there in the world who  will never have a chance to see this architectural wonder. When I showed the pictures of Sagrada Familia to my teenage nephew he compared the interior of the building to  the undersea topography - ocean underworld. Interesting comparison, isn't it? I knew where my nephew was coming from. The basilica is simply exraterrestrial. It is such a powerfully vision-stimulating, inspiring and thought-provoking place. Whether it resembles a forest sanctuary or ocean underworld altar one thing is certain -  no one has ever managed to recreate the rich colours of coral reefs, radiance of sunshine, vitality of tree branches and etherealness of jellyfish in a church! Hats off to Gaudi.


About the Sagrada Familia


Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly Europe's most unconventional church. It is an emblem of a city that likes to think of itself as individualistic. Crammed with symbolism inspired by nature and striving for uniqueness, it is the greatest work of Gaudi. It became his life's work as he lived like a recluse on the site for 14 years. During the final years of his life, Gaudi was wholeheartedly devoted to its construction, prayer and fasting and living ascetic life. He wanted to construct a building that would make an impact on the skyline, but also show his respect for the work of God, which in his opinion should never be superseded by man: at 172.5 metres tall, the Sagrada Familia is one of the tallest religious buildings in the world but remains a few metres below the height of Montjuïc – the highest point in the municipality of Barcelona.

 Gaudi is buried in the crypt. When he died only one tower on the Nativity facade had been completed, but work resumed after the Civil War and several more have since been finished to Gaudi's original plans. Work still continues today, financed by public subscription. Most people find it surprising that the basilica is still a work-in-progress, even though its construction of the church had commenced in 1882 (133 years ago!) The starting point for the Sagrada Familia was Gothic architecture, which Gaudí modified and improved on to offer a new architecture which, due to its originality, makes this temple unique. When Gaudi came up with the grand design of this huge structure, he was fully aware that it would not be completed during his lifetime. With advanced construction techniques, the basilica is now expected to be completed by 2030.

Over the years, the controversial structure has been described in many different, often contrastive ways, ranging from "one of the most hideous buildingd in the world" by George Orwell to "terrifying and edible beauty" by Salvador Dali.

About Antoni Gaudi

The son of a coppersmith, Antoni Gaudí was born on June 25, 1852, and took to architecture at a young age. He attended school in Barcelona, the city that would become home to most of his great works. Gaudí was part of the Catalan Modernista movement, eventually transcending it with his nature-based organic style. Gaudí died on June 10, 1926, in Barcelona, Spain.

Early Years


Architect Antoni Gaudí was born in Catalonia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain on June 25, 1852. He showed an early interest in architecture, and went to study in Barcelona—Spain's most modern city at the time—circa 1870. After his studies were interrupted by military service, Gaudí graduated from the Provincial School of Architecture in 1878.

Development as a Professional Architect


Upon graduation, Gaudí initially worked in the artistic vein of his Victorian predecessors, but he soon developed his own style, composing his works with juxtapositions of geometric masses and animating the surfaces with patterned brick or stone, bright ceramic tiles and floral or reptilian metalwork. The salamander in Park Güell, for instance, is representative of Gaudí's work.
During his early period, at the Paris World's Fair of 1878, Gaudí displayed a showcase he had produced, which impressed one patron enough to lead to Gaudí's working on the Güell Estate and Güell Palace, among others. In 1883, Gaudí was charged with the construction of a Barcelona cathedral called Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family). The plans had been drawn up earlier, and construction had already begun, but Gaudí completely changed the design, stamping it with his own distinctive style.
Gaudí also soon experimented with various permutations of historic styles: the Episcopal Palace (1887–'93) and the Casa de los Botines (1892–'94), both Gothic, and the Casa Calvet (1898–1904), which was done in the Baroque style. Some of these commissions were the result of the 1888 World's Fair, at which Gaudí once again staged an impressive showcase.

The Mature Artist


After 1902, Antoni Gaudí's designs began to defy conventional stylistic classification, and he created a type of structure known as equilibrated—that is, it could stand on its own without internal bracing, external buttressing, etc. The primary functional elements of this system were columns that tilted to employ diagonal thrusts and lightweight tile vaults. Notably, Gaudí used his equilibrated system to construct two Barcelona apartment buildings: the Casa Batlló (1904–06) and the Casa Milà (1905–10), whose floors were structured like clusters of tile lily pads. Both projects are considered to be characteristic of Gaudí's style.

Final Work and Death


Increasingly pious, after 1910, Gaudí abandoned nearly all other work to focus on the Sagrada Familia, which he had begun in 1883, cloistering himself onsite and living in its workshop. While employing Gaudí's equilibrated methods, the church would borrow from the cathedral-Gothic and Art Nouveau styles but present them in a form beyond recognition.
Gaudí died while still working on the Sagrada Familia on June 10, 1926, in Barcelona, Spain. He died after getting hit by a trolley car in Barcelona, only a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday. While the structure remained unfinished at his death in 1926—only one transept with one of four towers was built—the extraordinary structure has a final completion target date of 2026, to mark the 100th anniversary of his passing.

Citation Information

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Antoni Gaudí Biography

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More Photos of La Sagrada Familia


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