Sunday, 21 September 2008

"My Client Is Not In A Hurry"

The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.

"George Orwell berated the 1930s anarchists for 'showing bad taste by not blowing it up.' They did, however, manage to set fire to Gaudi's intricate plans and models for the building, which was his final project before his death. Ongoing work is a matter of some conjecture and controversy, with the finishing date expected to be somewhere within the region of 25-30 years. It was hoped the masterpiece would be completed in 2026 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death, although this now seems unlikely. This is, however, somewhat of an improvement on the prognosis in the 1900s, when construction was expected to last several hundred years; advanced computer technology is now being used to shape each intricately designed block of stone offsite to speed up the process...

Gaudi, who is said to have once joked 'My client is not in a hurry', is buried beneath the nave; he dedicated more than 40 years to the project, the last 14 exclusively."

(from the 2008 edition of Time Out's Barcelona guidebook.)

At the risk of stating the obvious, the cathedral is absolutely dripping with symbolism and imagery. (e.g. the cathedral sports 18 towers; 12 for the apostles, 4 for the evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus.)

Gaudi intended it to be "the last great sanctuary of Christendom".

It is a truly glorious, inspirational place; made all the more exciting because of the ongoing construction. An esoteric, organic labyrinth of religious imagery, cement bags and soft-drink machines... it could take an entire lifetime to explore fully. And probably longer to fully understand & appreciate.

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