Sunday, October 20, 2019

Architecture from an Untrained Perspective



Antoni Gaudi was a Catalan architect who concentrated his work in Barcelona. The church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) represents the pinnacle of his achievement, and it is not yet finished, almost 100 years since his death. He was a man of deep faith who loved nature and melded both in new and sometimes shocking ways through his architecture. 

The church above is a model of what the building will look like when completed. It is ornate, fanciful, and audacious in its design, unlike any building I have ever seen. I don't know if I like it or not, but it makes me think. I do like the stunning stained glass that circles the church with all the colours of nature. 

Gaudi says, "The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God." In his work a straight line is rarely seen as he imitated the curving branches of trees, the undulating form of waves, and circles of light. 

In my own humble way I disagree with Gaudi's thought about straight and curved lines. The horizon, when seen from a beach or on a flat prairie, is a straight line to the human eye. A tree, round in form, often stretches straight upwards to the sky. I think the combination of curved and straight make for harmony. What do you think?


In the Park Guell, also designed by Gaudi, I was most impressed by the wonderful mosaics displayed on walls, sculptures, and benches throughout the park. They have me wanting to smash a few dishes and create my own. 


On our way to Madrid, we stopped in the town of Zaragoza where a festival honouring the Virgin of the Pillar was starting. I enjoyed sitting in the plaza under a flat blue sky listening to folk music and watching the dancing. Later, I took a walk across the river through a city park where great views of the enormous church were to be seen. 

No photos were permitted within the ornate Baroque-style church, and it was full of people on this special day. 

My architectural preference tends more to the simple, light, and elegant, more Gothic than Romanesque or Baroque. Of course, there is wide variety in any of the styles, and I don't pretend to know very much about any of them, but I do know what I like when I see it. 

After two very relaxing days at home after flying home from Spain, I was at school for two days catching up with my classes. This weekend I've done some regular housecleaning, baked bread, did a little garden cleanup (it's very soggy out there with all the rain), and we went out for dinner with friends on Saturday night. I'm feeling very much back to normal, although I still wake up at 4 am for a bit each night. 

Sunny Spain seems very far away as I watch the clouds scud past my window and pull up my jacket hood as I dash to the car in the rain. Autumn is well and truly here.

23 comments:

Vee said...

Lost comment. That's probably just as well since I don't like Gaudi's work or his thinking and said so. Yikes! My filter is slipping again. It is interesting, though, and does make a person think. Oh, your new page theme is what is causing the page to disappear. Now that I've figured that out, commenting should go better.

riitta k said...

Sagrada familia is fabulous inside! I remember the pillars resembling botanics & trees - but most wonderful was the light! I remember the guide telling that to the stained glasses high up facing each compass point Gaudi had designed a different color scheme. Ingenious! Also the other Gaudi buildings in Barcelona are great - I love his architecture <3

Coastal Ripples said...

Lovely that you had a little sunshine before the run up to winter. I’m with you about straight and curved lines. Both are very much there in nature and would be very strange not to have straight lines. The mosaics are beautiful. Have a good week. B x

Elizabethd said...

I wondered if you had visited the Sagrada familia. Gaudi is like no other and its hard to say whether one likes the design or not.

Rosie said...

How wonderful, the model looks like an extravagant cake. I agree about there being both straight and curved lines in nature and those mosaics are wonderful. it sounds as if you had a very tiring but fulfilling visit:)

Deanna Rabe said...

I like the curved lines with straight lines. Both are found in the natural world and are appealing to me!

Gina said...

Dear Lori,
Do not brake any of your good dishes. I have plenty of failures that have come out of my kiln. I will be happy to send them to you.
Your beautiful photos bring back lovely memories.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

The church is beautiful. Curve and straight, I believe, are both from God.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Some of that ornate architecture is stunning to look at.

ellen b. said...

Gaudi...my brain has a few questions. You really saw some wonderful sites. Glad you are back safe and sound and in the swing of things. This October has been a lot wetter than last or at least I think it has.

Kit said...

How lovely! I love all the info you share. You fill me with new thoughts. Glad you're getting back to relaxing and enjoying home. 😊 Kit

Margie said...

I also love mosaics...they're a great way to repurpose broken china!

Powell River Books said...

Your travels have taken you much farther than my small little road trip. - Margy

kathy b said...

Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pictures and their history!

GretchenJoanna said...

Thank you, Lorrie, for the pictures and your thoughtful engagement. I noticed curved and straight lines in the mosaics. Maybe that's why they are so nice. All curved lines would be tiring to the mind, so I'm glad God didn't do that to us. ;-)

Angie said...

Lorrie - the model of the church almost looks like a cake with very delicious icing! For that alone I like it! In all seriousness, with church architecture, I find the most ornate churches the most attractive. I don't mind straight lines, but the soaring arches and gargoyles capture my fancy. Beautiful photographs!

Decor To Adore said...

What a glorious post! I studied all of these buildings in design school so it was a wonderful reminder for me. Have a wonderful week!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Im catching up with your posts, Lorrie! My, what a trip with your students. I loved following along and seeing your photos and picturing your students singing and dancing. I must say that I like both straight and curved lines, and also the mosaics. The church does look like an ornate gingerbread house.

Sue said...

I too like both straight and curved, and agree that they both work in harmony. You did a fantastic job of describing the church and relating the facts, Lorrie, happy that you are rested and things are getting back to normal.
Thanks for sharing.
Blessings,
Sue

Marilyn Miller said...

Hadn't thought about straight and curved lines, both are beautiful in their own ways. The cathedral in Barcelona is amazing. What a treat to see more than one beautiful cathedral.

handmade by amalia said...

I've been lucky enough to visit the Sagrada Familia and was blown away by the vision and the craziness. I love Gaudi and the many examples of his unique style you can see around Barcelona. Looks like you are having an amazing trip, I enjoy following your adventures.
Amalia
xo

podso said...

I don't know much about architecture--wish I knew more, but I do know what I like. And interesting because some architecture I call "gawdy" -- similar to Mr. Gaudi's name. I'm glad you had such a good trip. I'm sure your students gained much from having you along.

Lowcarb team member said...

Enjoyed your post and your photographs, so pleased you had a wonderful trip.

All the best Jan

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