The Universe of Discourse

Sun, 19 Mar 2023

Here I am at the Sagrada Família

I just found these pictures I took twenty years ago that I thought I'd lost so now you gotta see them.

Back in 2003 I got to visit Barcelona (thanks, Xavi!) and among other things I did what you're supposed to do and visited la Sagrada Família. This is the giant Art Nouveau church designed by the great architect and designer Antoni Gaudí. It began construction in 1882, and is still in progress; I think they are hoping to have it wrapped up sometime in the next ten years.

When I go to places I often skip the tourist stuff. (I spent a week in Paris once and somehow never once laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower!) I wasn't sure how long I would spend at the Sagrada Família, but it was great. I stayed for hours looking at everything I could.

Sagrada Família is marvelous.

Interior of Sagrada Família, still under
construction: walls and parts of the roof are missing, windows lack
stained glass, scaffolding is visible at left.  The roof is held up by
fluted stone columns the resemble tree trunks.  Far overhead the tree
trunks are decorated with huge stone boles and knots, and above the boles the
columns divide into branches on which hang stone foliage.

Some of the towers in this picture are topped with enormous heaps and clusters of giant fruits. Fruits!

Outside of Sagrada Família, clearly under
construction: part of the structure is covered with scaffolding, and
there is a big yellow construction crane right in the middle of the
picture.  Behind this the wall of the building is divided into
sections, each with a tall stone window divided into circles and
flower shapes; above that a sculpture of a saint, above that an oval
window, an then a steeply pointed stone roof.  Each steep point is
capped by a four-armed basket of colored stone globes resembling
fruits of various colors: the leftmost ones are warm oranges and
yellows; to the right are smaller but more numerous reds and purples.
Behind this is another similar row of roodsm even higher, with more
fruits like enormous bunches of purple and green grapes.

Gaudí's plan was to have eighteen spires in total. Supposedly there will be twelve big ones like these representing the twelve apostles:

The Nativity façade, as seen
from the ground, looking up.  On each side of the façade are two tall,
curved spires, somewhat resembling the congealed wax on the outside of
a candle. <br />
Each is decorated with sculpture columns, and windows and other
perforations.  Far above the spires end with huge red and yellow
flowers or medallions.

After these, there are four even bigger ones representing the four evangelists. And then one enormous one representing the Virgin Mary, and the biggest one of all for Jesus himself which, when finished, will be the tallest church tower in the world.

In the basement there is a museum about Gaudí's plans, models, and drawings of what he wanted the church to look like.

This is a view of the southeast side of the building where the main entrance is:

A colored painting of one side
of the building, as it was imagined around 1902.  At the bottom, we
see that main entrance is decorated with clouds labeled “CREDO”,
“Patrem”, “Deum”, and so on.  Four of the apostles” towers are around
this.  Behind these we can see two of the evangelists’ towers,
surmounted by a winged lion (for Mark) and an eagle (for John).
Behind these, in the center, and by far the largest, is the conical
tower of Jesus, surmounted by an immense golden cross, from whose arms
stream rays of light.  Under this the pointed top of the tower carries
the Greek letters alpha and omega, and under this are columns of stone
panels with more letters on them.

Hmm, there seem to be words written on the biggest tower. Let's zoom in and see what they say.

Closeup of just the top of the
Jesus tower from the previous photograph.  We can now see that each
column of stone panels carries one Latin word: “SAnCTuS”,
“AltiSsimus”, and … “DOminuS”.

Hee hee, thanks, great-grandpa.

[ Addendum 20230327: I spent some time figuring out which spires were for which disciples. The four in the photograph above are Matthias, Judas (not Iscariot), Simon (the Canaanite, not Simon Peter), and Barnabas. ]

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