We had tickets to see the Gaudi church at 1 PM, and I figured that would be the main event of the day.


Little did I realize . . . well, we’ll get to that.

We drove into town and parked, which took a bit of time. But it is possible. You can drive into Barcelona, and park on the street: nice to know. We walked to the day's objective.

It's there, if you look.

Reactions to this building seem uniformly awed and impressed. I find it . . . disquietening. If you woke one day and this was in the middle of your city, you would think that aliens had arrived and announced their dominance.

I'm surprised the bottom floor is actually somewhat traditional.

I have seen pictures of the Sagra Familia. We drove past it 11 years ago. I think it’s an absolutely fascinating structure and I also find it . . . what’s the word, it’s on the tip of my tongue . . . hideous. Alien. If the dominant species on earth was insectizoid, this would be their style. The exterior, anyway. I mean . . .

But you can’t say it's anything but wonderful. And maybe I’m wrong! It’s all a matter of opinion of course, and part of the shock is the architect's refusal to use the standard forms of architectural expression.

It's just furry and frothy:

In the middle, a common decorative motif: fungus on a tree trunk.

So much of this is new, relatively speaking. Construction has accelerated, and this means that the additions are both faithful to his original designs (which were quite modern) and contemporary in ways that reference post-war American modernistic churches.

The Nativity: Joseph seems to have noticed there is a bird on his hand.

I did not know that the infant Christ was serenaded by a bassoon:

As much as the outside seems like a series of enormous hives excreted from the abdomen of very devout beetles, the interior is more familiar, and it's astonishing.







The sherbet effect of the light through the stained-glass window is among the most beautiful things I have seen in my life.

I'll just shut up and show you some stuff:







The Passion side, the crucifixton portion of the story, is rendered in the post-war genre.






It is, however, something of a jumble:

Mysteries abound.


Concave-faced Jesus with a book for hair:

The investors, looking at the timeline for construction:

After the tour we returned to peer into the crypt, which is the remains of the basement from the original design. It all rests on a traditional format. The main architect quit after they built the basement, and Gaudi took over - I cannot imagine how he convinced everyone to go from standard-issue Spanish church architecture to this design. In a curious twist unremarked by the tours, he is buried in the old part. His bones rest in the room whose style denies everything above.


TOMORROW: The rest of the walk, and Barcelona Taters.




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