Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí I Cornet( 1852-1926) is famous worldwide for his immense talent and leadership in modernism. This brilliant architect invented a unique, personal and unprecedented architectural language that is always difficult to qualify. Gaudí’s style can be defined as organic, and freely inspired by the forms of nature, without renouncing the lessons of ancient architecture which constitute the knowledge base of architectural studies. He is the person behind the development of the Sagrada Familia Barcelona.
“ Nothing is invented, for it’s written in nature first” – Antoni Gaudi-
In the spirit of the times, he is a rationalist architect: the forms all have a precise function and the plan of the spaces must be readable from the facade. In keeping with Art Nouveau fashion, he works with different materials such as ceramics and wrought iron.
Although it is not the seat of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia Barcelona is the most famous church in the city, and one of the most visited in the world. Its architecture, still under construction, is unique to a religious building. Its plan is relatively classic but the decor is less so! The architect multiplied the references to nature and geometry, experimenting with forms and techniques. The arrows in particular, eighteen in number, are among the original features of the monument.
In 1882, Francisco de Paula del Villar, a Spanish architect, started the project.
In the Original drawing, he followed the dominant guidelines of the time and applied the neo-Gothic formulas: ogival windows, buttresses and external arch buttresses, and a steep bell tower.
Divergences of a technical nature, related to the cost of the materials, led to the dismissal of this architect and the election of another who was beginning to stand out, Antoni Gaudí, who gave a new direction to project and transformed it into an ambitious temple proposal for the church of the future.
On March 19, Bishop Urquinaona laid the first stone of the temple.
In 1883, Antoni Gaudi took over the project and dedicated himself to the temple till his death.
The work on the nativity façade, began in 1891 till 1925 when the Saint Barnabé bell tower was finished. That was the only element that Gaudi had seen complete.
What’s genius and unique about the Sagrada Familia is her three façades that translate the bible within its rough-edged texture. Each tells a particular story of Jesus’s journey; his birth, his death and resurrection, and his glory. It also refers to the doctrine of the Trinity as it is considered to be one of the central Christian affirmations about God.
At the Sagrada Família, Gaudí associated this beginning of life directly with the arrival of Jesus, but also with the beginning of the day, as the Nativity façade looks to the east.
Three portals each have their symbol and refer to a part of Jesus’s birth.
The portal of hope, where he engraved the water of the Nile. it is loaded with symbolic meaning associated with the spiritual purity of the body and soul as it flowers so beautifully above muddy waters. On the other hand, the portal of faith held sculptures of the opposite: dry vegetation. Arid as the desert where Jesus spent his childhood.
The middle portal belongs to charity: Flora engravings referring to the purity of Mary.
The facade of the Nativity and the crypt of the temple are part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 2005.
Domènec Sugranyes took over work direction when Gaudi passed away in 1926.
Due to the civil wars in 1936, all graphic elements of the temple were burned to ashes, hence the stopping of construction.
In 1939, Francesc de Paula Quintana took over the direction of the works, which can continue thanks to the material saved from Gaudí’s workshop and that which was reconstructed from photographs and published plans.
The foundations are being laid to build the facade of the Passion in 1954.
On March 19, 1958, the feast of Saint Joseph, the sculptural set representing the Sagrada Família, the work of Jaume Busquets, is placed on the facade of the Nativity.
In 1966, Francesc de Paula Quintana dies; and Isidre Puig I Boada and Lluís Bonet I Garí take charge of the direction of the works.
The bell towers on the Passion facade have just been built in 1966
When the nativity façade was living with flowers and birds, the passion façade contradicted her with the darkness and sinister that Jesus suffered in his last hours. Twelve sculptural groups describe the hours between the last supper and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The eighteen bone-shaped pillars symbolize those who died and create a covered space through which Gaudí conveyed the Bosom of Abraham.
Gaudí put on the upper narthex of the Passion façade those who were walking towards resurrection: the patriarchs, on one side (starting with Adam and Eve), and the prophets on the other, whose names Subirachs inscribed on the wall behind. In ascending order towards the center, they all come together in the stained-glass window of the resurrection, which acts as a background from the street. Finally, the pediment of the Passion façade is crowned with three acroterions symbolizing Jesus’ victory over death: one in the center and one on either side. The cross and angels in the middle for the triumph of love and charity. The lion who beat death, and the lamb of sacrifice.
The newest one is the Glory facade which, upon completion, will provide access to the Sagrada Familia Barcelona Basilica’s central nave. The Glory Facade represents Christ’s eternal glory and features scenes of Christ’s rise to heaven and eternal bliss. The construction of the facade began in 2002 and is still far from being completed. Although unfinished, it is already the tallest of all the facades.
The facade will have tall columns dedicated to the seven holy gifts and will depict the seven deadly gifts at the bottom and the seven heavenly virtues at the top. The facade will have five doors corresponding to the five naves of the temple, with the central one having a triple entrance, making a total of seven entrances representing the seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Holy orders, Marriage, and Anointing of the sick. The central doors are inscribed with the words “Give us our daily bread” in fifty different languages. The handles of the door depict the letters “A” and “G” that form the initials of Antoni Gaudí within the phrase “lead us not into temptation”.
In 2016, The towers of the Evangelists, Mary, and Jesus begin to be built.
Six central towers were designed and four of them were dedicated to the Evangelists, the men who told the story of Jesus’ life. The towers of the Evangelists are located on each of the four corners of the central square of the Temple’s crossing.
The towers will be 135 meters tall once they are finished, and the third tallest in the Temple.
The resuming two, are the tower of Mary second tallest reaching 138 meters high and embellished with a shining star, and the tower of Jesus Christ that will be will be 172.5 meters tall once finished.
The Sagrada Familia Barcelona has proven to be unique in each minimal detail that was hammered into her high stones. To this Day, the constructions are still going, finishing the vision of Gaudi.
During 2022, two of the four towers of the Evangelists, Luke’s and Mark’s, will be completed. The tower of Jesus Christ rises two levels, and reaches the eighth level of the twelve it will have, so that it is located at 125.85 meters.
On December 16, 2022, the terminals of the towers of the Evangelists Luke and Mark, two of the four towers of the Evangelists that are part of the set of central towers, will be illuminated for the first time. It is planned to finish the towers of the Evangelists John and Matthew in 2023, and to finish the central tower of Jesus in 2026.
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