Good Gaudi

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Monday, May 16, 2011


   I didn't come to Spain for the art. Pablo Picasso's cubism always caused me to have unpleasant circle and box dreams. Salvador Dali's melting clocks left me feeling all liquidy, and the grotesque works of Antoni Gaudi, whose church, the Sagrada Familia, always looked as though it was a candle that had been left outside on a hot sunny day. Photos of Gaudi's so called masterwork  induced in me mild forms of anxiety. I'd often wondered why it hadn't just been torn down; an interesting plan gone horribly wrong.

   When we turned the corner and Sagrada Familia came into view my jaw dropped open. The outside is covered with statues of saints and animals and vegetation woven into what had been my melting candle. The sculptures on the front of the church depict the final days of Jesus Christ. The flagellation; Roman centurions gambling for his clothing; Judas giving him the kiss of death. All things you do not expect to see on in or around a Catholic Church. And this may be the reason that Sagrada Familia wasn't consecrated (Mass could not be performed) until November of 2010. The back of the church has the same vivid sculptures, but these ones depict the Nativity. I stood back and collected my thoughts. It was as though I'd been hit with a hammer. Or a miracle. None of the photos that I'd ever seen of Sagrada Familia had come anywhere close to showing its odd allure. Perhaps I needed to give Picasso and Dali another try. I could have spent hours simply looking at this wild and crazy and beautiful building.

   Wild and crazy were left at the door when I walked into Sagrada Familia. Inside it's all beauty. Gaudi was an architect who understood sunlight. He knew how small, or large windows should be. And he knew how to make stained glass become magical when light shines through it.

   Construction began on Sagrada Familia in 1882. Completion is expected in or around 2026. All construction costs are funded by private patrons and visitors like me. I did a little calculating, and based on the approximately 2.5 million visitors it receives each year it must bring in around sixty-million dollars annually...and then there are all the trinkets. If you wish to see more click the link. The photos will be better than mine. Whoops. I shouldn't have said that. Ellen's the camera person.
   During last year's consecration, which was performed by Pope Benedict XVI, there were 6,500 members of the flock on hand, which included Spain's King and Queen, 100 bishops and 300 priests.

   There are, I believe, ten Gaudi works in the magnificent city of Barcelona. Wow. I just said Barcelona was magnificent, but most of what I remember, other than Gaudi is just a fog. I must start taking notes.

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Vickie on

I've never seen anything like this. Just beautiful. Great photography!

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