Gaudi. Son of Barcelona

View of the Estrada Camilla from the Barcelona Cathedral.

View of the Sagrada Familia from the Barcelona Cathedral.

Gaudi, the most famous of the Modernistes, has left his architectural fingerprint throughout Barcelona. His major work, however, is the Sagrada Familia-the church of the Holy Family.

That’s the towering drip sand castle with the weird gew-gaws you see in pictures of Barcelona. I will tell you that pictures do not do the place justice. It overwhelms words and pictures.

Here are three stories about Gaudi that, I think, help to reveal the man.

1. When someone asked why he was so concerned about the fantastical detail he placed high up in the towers where no one would see it, he answered, “God sees it.” (And actually, visitors can go up in the towers, so mere mortals get to enjoy his fabulous detail too. )

2. It is said that some of the stone figures on the facade have Asiatic eyes. This is because the head stone carver, and the one still most passionately dedicated to fulfilling Gaudi’s vision, is Etsuro Sotoo. He visited Barcelona as a young man and was immediately drawn to Gaudi’s work, even though the cathedral then was just a pile of stone.

Eventually, Sotoo converted to Catholicism and has devoted his life to seeing Gaudi’s oeuvre completed. This should happen in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

3. The third story concerns Gaudi’s death. It is said that he wanted to die with the poor. In June, 1926 when he was 74 and working feverishly to complete the design of Sagrada Familia, he was hit by a tram while walking in the street. The police didn’t recognize him, so they took him to the public hospital for the poor where he died.

Truly, however, Gaudi’s masterwork has a voice of its own. Unfinished though it is, the place is a towering testament to a unique and powerful view of the divine incarnate. Frankly, I was overwhelmed to be there.

The bell towers that will eventually hold special tubular bells imagined by Gaudi. A circular staircase winds through the interior of the towers.

Light plays throughout the space, changing as the sun moves during the day.

Light plays throughout the space, changing as the sun moves during the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circular stairway inside the bell tower.

Circular stairway inside the bell tower.

The detail that only God can see

The detail that only God can see

The triangle of light at the top of the soaring vault over the main altar represents God.

The triangle at the top of the soaring vault over the main altar represents God. The branching forms suggest a forest. The canopy far below  covers a simple and moving crucifix.

Top of the interior vault.

Top of the interior vault.

Etsuro Sotoo carved tiny creature in the doors of theNativity facade. He envisioned children searching for them. I know I was.

Etsuro Sotoo carved tiny creature in the doors of theNativity facade. He envisioned children searching for them. I know I was.

Update to the Camino journal: I am in Seville and plan to begin the walk tomorrow morning. It has rained relentlessly for the past several days. I won’t be able to ford a seasonal stream that I’m sure is impassable now, so I’ll go around by road. Apparently this adds about 5 kilometers to the route. Eeesh.

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5 Responses to Gaudi. Son of Barcelona

  1. Veronica Jabrocki 28 March, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    Safe Travels!

  2. Jenny 27 March, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    I loved seeing Gaudi’s work again and through your eyes – safe travels and walking!!
    Love you 😘
    Jenny

  3. Cheryl J 27 March, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    What magnificent photos.
    Wishing you joyous walking.

  4. Maggie Nelson 27 March, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    Beautiful and amazing!! Have a safe journey. I look forward to your updates.

  5. hoz 27 March, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    5k extra is small sacrifice. Keep on truckin Kate!

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