Among the treasured precious of the Church that bring about the salvation of minds, which we must recover in order to save our families and rebuild a Christian society, is the Sacrament of Matrimony. Is it not darkened today above all because we rarely affirm this forgotten gem among the seven sacraments , no longer make it to glint in our lives? We’re given new hope by what is probably the most improbable phenomenon of our times, the construction of the Sagrada Familia, the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, right in the midst of the modern metropolis of Barcelona.
A Rather Reluctant Approach
Some tourists may envision the Sagrada Familia with its Catalan Modernisme, a very peculiar type of Art Nouveau, out of the area of their eye, but may not take it dangerously. “Let’s stick to the historical sites, ” foresaw two visitors to Barcelona, the authors of this article, such as the rich architectural fabric in the Barri Gotic, the most crucial, still fully prolonged 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 proclaimed long ago in this very place. The integrity of its vogue astonished Gaudi’s boyish spirit, the couple read in their guidebook, as did its building philosophy of a communal endeavour of Christian spirit that would echo in his Sagrada Familia.
Our pilgrims encounter Antoni Gaudi here again: a figure they had already noticed on Montserrat, the holy ridge of Catalonia. As a schoolchild of the architect Francisco del Villar( 1828 -1 901 ), Gaudi played a major role in intent the apse chapel of the convent basilica there and established the affecting group of people 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 located in 880. The spirit in Barri Gotic was absorbed by Gaudi as a young student of building, it is said. Among his professors was Joan Martorell i Montells( 1833 -1 906 ), the godfather of the “Gothic rebirth of Catalonia”, who developed, 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 inventor Eugene Viollet-le-Duc( 1814 -1 879) to the young Gaudi at the Escola Tecnica Superior d’ Arquitectura: “We must find our creativity through a precise knowledge of the works of our predecessors, ” our couple read from their smartphone, increasingly interested in the affects that have formed the thinker and originality of this somebody Gaudi.
“Not that this knowledge must extend us to slavishly imitate them, but instead it will expose and make available all the secret abilities of our predecessors, ” writes Viollet-le-Duc. “Undoubtedly, the most profusion of these abilities compiles their application difficult today. But when one detects the secrets that lie behind the finest works in the chest of the highest and most beautiful civilizations, one instantly realizes that all these mysteries can be reduced to a few principles, and that through the kind of fermentation triggered by their combination, brand-new things can and must be created unceasingly.” Gaudi’s interests were wide-ranging, our guests too learn. At university, he attended chides on philosophy, esthetics and autobiography, went to concerts and the theater, spoke the works of enormous verse, toured ethnic tombstones and nature.
How to Deal with a Cathedral?
Those who, like our marry, carry Espana en el corazon, Spain in their feelings , 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 , not yet 30 years old, that he continue the construction after del Villar got into a dispute with his our customers and resigned. From that time until his death in 1926, Gaudi dedicated 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 divulges something of Gaudi’s building idea from afar. Patently, it is the strange rock patterns of Montserrat, that holy mountain and its affectionate mistress Mary, that Gaudi’s pillars 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 suburbium of Eixample, this strange Gothic sees as other-worldly as the Montserrat, which also seems not to be of this world and looms naturally Gothic, as Gothic as Spanish art, even where it makes up Renaissance or Baroque structures, 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 guests wanted to do with the Sagrada Familia. “One should stay longer, one should not be in a hurry like some tourist groups; one should sit down, 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 passion, a lust that is neither in the walls nor in the discoloured 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 dark, the visual thoughts would fade into the background and “into the foreground an ever stronger desire would push itself. We do not know why the cathedral evokes a great desire in us. Why from its dark interior a libido is born …”
Coming closer and closer, our visitors recognized skyscrapers with colorful mosaics in plant-like formations. 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 glowing grey into the blue sky of Catalonia, and from blue grapes a chalice with the Precious Blood. This idea would be compatible with Cistercian architectural impressions, our pair fantasized. This Catalan modernisme is obviously not Bauhaus modernism, as in the case of post-conciliar faiths, or an open breach of tradition. Finally, the direction makes a turn through the small park in front of the Sagrada Familia, and the Passion facade rises unmediated in the evening sun, towered over by four of the bud Gaudi-Monserrat tower-firs.
Passion of Christ at the Sagrada Familia
“The Passion facade, began on the late 1980 s and not yet completed, attempts to interpret the Passion event in a fiction space in crystalline, metal, sharply chipped modernist constitutes, ” our duet read in their guidebook. But what converges their readiness to rebuff 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 representations of the carved Gothic altars–they are there in spirit. They encountered their Veronica offering the face of their feel Lord to the world in the pall; they determined their places on the Mount of Olives, the sleeping adherents, the betrayal, everything that the great rulers of Gothic art, the Grunewalds, the Riemenschneiders, all the other cherished artists, had brought to them.
From the “Lords supper”, a tortuou path induces 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 around the central column, is a larger-than-life depiction of a tortured, chagrined Christ, scourged halfway up by Roman soldiers. One of the countless items that charmed 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 demise. Our couple associate the magic square with Albrecht Durer’s( 1471 -1 528) captain impressing Melencolia I, in which the digit supplements up to thirty-four.
“With this person Durer imagined a being given with the scholastic dominance and technical knowledge of an’ art’, but at the blessing of anguish under the cloud of a’ black humor’, ” the German-American art historian Erwin Panofsky( 1892 -1 968) construes this motif. “He represented a branch of science, geometry, that became very melancholic. […] So Durer’s Melencolia definitely belongs to those who cannot make their conjecture 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 item typify the atonement of the modern character from a confinement that ties 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 innovative means of modernity, a win over the all-relativizing, all-psychologizing “modernism”. This artistic triumph from the dispassionate neutrality of the flesh and the rigour corresponding to the event extorts its fortitude from what is always true–and more it produces forth brand-new representations, which impel the strings of the spirit throb in our pilgrims and touch their souls. Peculiar to this facade, but too to the fir-like Montserrat castles, is the element of scripture as an element that joins the figurative: short-lived citations from the sacred writings and the observance that understand the events. Here, a Moorish-inspired line of knowledge in Catalan art may be intimated 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 successions or begin here at part 1.
featured image: Sagrada Familia Castle, 2016 by eskystudio/ Shutterstock.com
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