Sagrada Família: Towers Rising in the Midst of Rediscovered Faith

Sagrada Família: Towers Rising in the Midst of Rediscovered FaithSagrada Família: Towers Rising in the Midst of Rediscovered Faith

Among the precious precious of the Church that used to generate the saving of feelings, which we must recover in order to save our families and rebuild a Christian society, is the Sacrament of Matrimony. Is it not shaded today above all because we rarely exclaim this forgotten gem among the seven sacraments , no longer cause it to glow in “peoples lives”? We’re given brand-new hope by what is probably the most preposterous phenomenon of our time, the construction of the Sagrada Familia, the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, right in the middle of the modern metropolis of Barcelona.

A Rather Reluctant Approach

Some sightseers may interpret the Sagrada Familia with its Catalan Modernisme, a instead singular type of Art Nouveau, out of the area of their see, but may not take it severely. “Let’s stick to the historical sites, ” believed two visitors to Barcelona, the authors of this article, such as the rich architectural fabric in the Barri Gotic, the most crucial, still absolutely perpetuated Gothic quarter in Europe. One of the most beautiful examples of the Catalan Gothic style in it is the parish church of Santa Maria del Mar. The apostle James urged long ago in this very place. The integrity of its style excited Gaudi’s childish force, the couple read in their guidebook, as did its building philosophy of a communal campaign of Christian spirit that they are able to sound in his Sagrada Familia.

Our tourists encounter Antoni Gaudi here again: a call they had already noticed on Montserrat, the holy elevation of Catalonia. As a schoolchild of the architect Francisco del Villar( 1828 -1 901 ), Gaudi played a major role in intend the apse chapel of the convent basilica there and started the superb group of digits of the First Glorious Mystery of the Rosary on the way to the Santa Cova. There the image of grace of Montserrat, his mysterious black Madonna, was found in 880. The spirit in Barri Gotic was absorbed by Gaudi as a young student of structure, it is said. Among his professors was Joan Martorell i Montells( 1833 -1 906 ), the godfather of the “Gothic rebirth of Catalonia”, who caused, among countless sacred buildings, the Fourth Joyful, the Fifth Sorrowful and the Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosari Monumental de Montserrat.

Martorell opens up the thinking of the French designer Eugene Viollet-le-Duc( 1814 -1 879) to the young Gaudi at the Escola Tecnica Superior d’ Arquitectura: “We must find our ability through a precise knowledge of the works of our predecessors, ” our pair read from their smartphone, increasingly interested in the influences that have formed the intellect and originality of this adult Gaudi.

“Not that such knowledge must conduct us to slavishly imitate them, but instead it will uncover and make available all the secret abilities of our ancestors, ” writes Viollet-le-Duc. “Undoubtedly, the most profusion of these knowledge represents their application difficult today. But when one discovers the secrets that lie behind the finest works in the breast of the highest and most beautiful civilizations, one soon realizes that all these confidentials can be reduced to a few principles, and that through the kind of fermentation triggered by their combination, new things can and must be created unceasingly.” Gaudi’s interests were wide-ranging, our pilgrims also learn. At university, he attended lecturings on thinking, esthetics and autobiography, went to concerts and the theater, predicted the works of immense verse, toured ethnic statues and nature.

Photo by Louisa Schaad on Unsplash

How to Deal with a Cathedral?

Those who, like our duet, carry Espana en el corazon, Spain in their hearts , no longer try to avoid the Sagrada Familia, whose mausoleum was begun by this same del Villar. It was Martorell who, in 1883, recommended to the young Gaudi , have still not been 30 years old, that he continue the construction after del Villar got into a dispute with his clients and resigned. From that time until his death in 1926, Gaudi devoted most of his time and effort to the Sagrada Familia. During the last decade of his life, it was his exclusive focus–nothing else mattered to him.

Approaching the Sagrada Familia on a late time afternoon, reddish-gold light discloses something of Gaudi’s building idea from afar. Certainly, it is the strange rock formations of Montserrat, that holy mountain and its loving mistress Mary, that Gaudi’s castles seek to imitate in the modern metropolis. At their top something shimmers reddish-white, likewise colorful. In this desert of ugly modern rooms in the neighbourhood of Eixample, this strange Gothic seems as other-worldly as the Montserrat, which likewise seems not to be of this world and looms naturally Gothic, as Gothic as Spanish art, even where it makes up Renaissance or Baroque species, as in the Churriguera style in Salamanca or in El Greco’s paintings.

“And tourists, how should we are dealing here with a cathedral? ” wonders the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski( b. 1945 ). As he recommends for Chartres Cathedral, so our visitors wanted to do with the Sagrada Familia. “One should stay longer, one should not be in a hurry like some tourist groups; one should sitting there, contemplate, then get up and walk around for a long time.” Will our tourists be like Zagajewski in Chartres, who felt “what is not in the guidebooks, a kind of strong libido, a hunger that is neither in the walls nor in the stained glass windows, but in the air of the cathedral, in its lungs”? After some time, after going around the building several times and passing through zones of brightness and shadow, the visual marks would fade into the background and “into the foreground an ever stronger desire would push itself. We do not know why the cathedral wakens a great desire in us. Why from its dark interior a want is born …”

Coming closer and closer, our pilgrims recognized pillars with colorful mosaics in plant-like models. Surprised at first, this thought of Gaudi also made sense to them: Why shouldn’t crucifers bloom and bear fruit on towers that are perceived as Gothic? From ears of wheat and blossoming poppies, the Holy Host rises in radiant white into the blue sky of Catalonia, and from off-color grapes a chalice with the Precious Blood. This idea would be compatible with Cistercian architectural sentiments, our duet reckoned. This Catalan modernisme is obviously not Bauhaus modernism, as in the case of post-conciliar religions, or an open breach of tradition. Lastly, the course makes a turn through the small park in front of the Sagrada Familia, and the Passion facade rises unmediated in the evening dawn, towered over by four members of the flower Gaudi-Monserrat tower-firs.

Passion Portal at the church of La Sagrada Familia/ Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Passion of Christ at the Sagrada Familia

“The Passion facade, begun in the late 1980 s and not yet ended, attempts to interpret the Passion event in a fiction style in crystalline, metal, sharply trimmed modernist chassis, ” our duet read in their guidebook. But what fulfills their readiness to spurn is a surprise: this really is the Passion that is unfolding there architecturally and figuratively; it is their suffering Christ on the cross, the Christ of the Gothic plague bridges, it is the assistant people of the carved Gothic altars–they are there in spirit. They assured their Veronica offering the face of their endure Lord to the world in the pall; they witnessed their representations on the Mount of Olives, the sleeping devotees, the betrayal, everything that the great captains of Gothic art, the Grunewalds, the Riemenschneiders, all the other treasured masters, had brought to them.

From the “Lords supper”, a curve direction pass through the Kiss of Judas, Ecce Homo, the Roman Longinus on horseback, and the nailing to the cross, all the way up to Golgotha. At ground level, wrap in different areas of the central tower, is a larger-than-life depiction of a tortured, chagrined Christ, scourged halfway up by Roman soldiers. One of the countless details that fascinated the visitors is a “magic square” to the left of the Judas Kiss, in which all the rows and articles of numbers add up to thirty-three- the age of Christ at his sacrificial death. Our couple associate the occult square with Albrecht Durer’s( 1471 -1 528) captain stamping Melencolia I, in which the crowd includes up to thirty-four.

“With this reputation Durer imagined a being given with the scholastic superpower and technical knowledge of an’ art’, but at the benevolence of melancholy under the cloud of a’ black humor’, ” the German-American art historian Erwin Panofsky( 1892 -1 968) translates this decoration. “He represented a branch of science, geometry, that has become melancholic. […] So Durer’s Melencolia indeed belongs to those who cannot make their reasoning beyond the limits of space. Her persistence in inaction is the behavior of a being that renounces what it could achieve because it cannot achieve what it asks for.” Does this detail symbolize the redemption of the modern atmosphere from a confinement that bind it purely to the earthly?

The novelty of this depiction of the Passion in the suburbs of a modern metropolis is its timelessness in sober objectivity, connected to tradition without being “conservative”. This moving passion is the revolutionary overcoming of modern “enlightenment, ” a pointing out beyond it with the inventive means of modernity, a victory over the all-relativizing, all-psychologizing “modernism”. This artistic triumph from the dispassionate objectivity of the organize and the rigour corresponding to the event gleans its persuasivenes from what is always true–and more it delivers forth new chassis, which procreate the cords of the mind vibrate in our visitors and touch their natures. Peculiar to this facade, but too to the fir-like Montserrat towers, is the element of scripture as a component that joins the figurative: short excerpts from the sacred writings and the ritual that read the events. Here, a Moorish-inspired line of lore in Catalan art may be indicated at.

Editor’s note: This article is the second part in our special series, A Symbol of Rediscovered Faith: The Expiatory Church of the Holy Family in Barcelona. You can click here to see the full serials or begin here at part 1.

Sagrada Família: Towers Rising in the Midst of Rediscovered Faithfeatured image: Sagrada Familia Pillar, 2016 by eskystudio/ Shutterstock.com

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