Sagrada Familia… Gaudi’s Masterpiece of Faith

My blogging friend Kelly at Compass and Camera posted photos a week or so ago that showed stained glass windows and reminded me of Gaudi’s masterpiece cathedral, Sagrada Familia. The soaring faith required to imagine and build this beautiful sanctuary in Barcelona is a reminder that faith and hope together have tremendous power, enough to build a soaring cathedral— and enough to get through the darkest night, which is a comforting thought given the troubling times we have experienced the past few years and are especially experiencing now. (These photos were taken on a visit that Peggy and I made to the Cathedral in 2015.)

The front of Sagrada Familia reflects Antoni Gaudi’s love of nature and is sometimes described as looking like a melting cake. My thoughts are more like melting ice cream cake. The church is a work in progress. The towers are the first of 14.

Barcelona arrived in the Twentieth Century with its own brand of Art Nouveau, Modernisme. Combining whimsical and practical with a healthy dollop of nature, Barcelona’s Catalan artists and architects did a makeover of their city. Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), the best known among the Modernistas, added strong religious belief to his work and became the architect of Sagrada Familia, the Church of the Holy Family.

Started in 1883, the church continues to be a work in progress today. Like the great cathedrals of the Gothic and Renaissance periods, it is a work of generations, and like the great cathedrals of Europe, is a masterpiece of art and architecture. Peggy, our traveling companions, and I walked inside and could only stare in awe at the beauty. I’ve selected the photos for this blog to provide a sense of why.

Just walking around the church is inspiring. This sculpture found outside is one of many included in Joseph Marin Subirach’s story of Christ’s death. I found the modern sculptures both powerful and moving. You can feel the grief here.
To get a true feeling for Sagrada Familia, you have to go inside, however. The columns in the church range from 36 to 72 feet tall. The ceiling vault reaches a height of 200 feet. The final tower, which will rest on the beams and ceiling, will soar 560 feet into the air, making it the tallest church steeple in the world.
Another view looking up. I had a sense of a white bird soaring over and looking down.
This picture provide a sense of the soaring columns. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Stained glass windows adorn the great cathedrals of Europe and Sagrada Familia has its share of beauties as this photo and the following three show.
Photo by Peggy Mekemson.
Photo by Peggy Mekemson.
Photo by Peggy Mekemson.
Every inch of the cathedral shows close attention to detail and creativity, like this wall.
I really like this photo by Peggy that combines the pipes of an organ with the stained glass windows. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
The crucifix hanging above the altar serves as a symbol that brings Christians together from throughout the world, but the Cathedral speaks to me of more than religious faith. It speaks to a faith in humanity that goes beyond religious creed, race, nationality, sex, or any of the other differences that tear us apart and are exploited by self-serving, unscrupulous demagogues to a belief/hope that working together we can build— have to build— a better world for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. And for ourselves. Let’s make the world great.
I’ll close today with a final photo of Sagrada Familia.

NEXT POST: A special! The first fawn has arrived…