A Cathedral for Our Times Gaudi's Sagrada Familia
我们早就熟悉了圣家堂的塔楼和外墙，这座建筑从巴塞罗那的郊区爆发出来，冲向天空。但是自从它被奉献的那一天起，就得益于当地电视台灵巧安排了蜘蛛似的摄影机，让数百万人第一次看到了最近完成的内部 - 一个惊心动魄的森林中的光线、色彩和空间。大教堂的现代设计...高迪将通常放置在外面的东西 - 植物，动物，大自然 - 反而放置在室内，而把通常在教堂里的祭坛、讲诉基督拯救人类的故事之雕塑安置在教堂的外墙上。
在“现代艺术”为了自己的利益而拒绝与其他东西融合和不合作的时代，高迪的创意脱颖而出，更加激进和真实。他强烈关注自然的形态，发现真正的美在于揭露和忠实于这些形式，而不是单纯追求美丽，因为这样只会显示作者的技巧而已。通过几十个65英尺高的热带树干升起到森林般的树冠，太阳的光线通过它倾泻而过，墙壁上跳舞，圣家堂的内部创造了新耶路撒冷的天堂视野 - 并不像一张沉重的，盛大的，强大的建筑物结构的招牌，而是瞥见上帝，自由而轻盈的东西，慷慨而强烈的美丽，适合飙升的灵魂的空间。
高迪的自己的生活是一个非常现代的。直到他42岁时，他才放弃了他的信仰，那时他是一位著名且收入高昂的建筑师，些富裕的巴塞罗那工业家们设计他们向人炫耀而精心打扮了的房子。他是加泰罗尼亚语称为“新生”的手工艺品运动的主要带头人，并且在造诣上他远远领先于他那一代人。自从他被一个他所爱的女人断然拒绝了之后，开始探索 - 以一种非常现代的且被人尊重的方式，在完全明确了应该怎样转变的情况下 - 在那之前，他对这些宗教毫无兴趣。在接下来的30年里，他放弃了自己的财富，花更多的时间祷告，放弃了酒肉，把钱投入到改善他区域里穷人的生活，并完全把自己献给了圣家族教堂的设计和建筑，相信是上帝召他去完成这项伟大的任务。他在72岁时被一辆有轨电车撞倒，死亡，一位心爱的乞丐，被誉为天才，被誉为圣人。
天主教教会现在正在酝酿准备正式宣布他的一个圣人，不是因为他的宏伟创造 - 尽管当然这确实是一方面，圣家堂不能脱离他的信仰 - 而是因为他的生活和成果与上帝相所提倡的很接近。不像其他天才，如毕加索（因为意识形态的原因而不喜欢高迪，但是在艺术上至少是各有千秋）或者莫扎特，高迪从未耗尽他的才华。他在大教堂工作了40多年。他明白艺术天才是一个强大的礼物，这导致了鲁莽的自我；他通过忏悔和赎罪，自我牺牲和奉献积极补偿那份礼物。深信上帝通过他的创造首先被揭示出来，他的信仰使他的天才和技术实力更深入到美的起源，而不是离开了整体的美。在技术进步导致忘乎所以的时候，高迪提供叶子和小虫、果子和枝条，并要求我们再次看到上帝创造之美。
Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), architect of the awesome basilica, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, ... didn't think he was building Europe's last great Catholic cathedral. The Sagrada Família, he said, was the first of the new Christian era. He built it to speak to a post-industrial, secularised world, to heal the divide between faith and reason, truth and freedom, art and God; and to do so not through a restatement of the past but starting from creation itself.
We have long been familiar with the Sagrada's towers and facades, the way the building erupts from Barcelona's suburbs, reaching for the skies. But on the day it was consecrated, thanks to a spidercam deftly directed by the local television station, millions saw for the first time the recently-completed interior – a thrilling petrified forest of light, colour and space. The Basilica's modernity ... lies in the way Gaudí internalises what is usually left outside – plants, animals, nature – while putting on its outside what is normally confined within church walls: altarpieces and sculptures narrating the Christian salvation story.
In an age when "modern" art strains to reject and disconcert for its own sake, Gaudí's originality stands out as far more radical and authentic. Focussing intensely on the forms of nature, he discovered that true beauty lies in uncovering and being faithful to those forms, rather than striving after beauty, which results merely in artifice. Through dozens of 65ft-high tropical trunks rising up to a forest-like canopy through which the sun's rays pour and dance across the walls, the Sagrada's interior creates a heavenly vision of the New Jerusalem – not a ponderous, grandiloquent, statement of a powerful institution, but a glimpse of God, something free and light and generous and intensely beautiful, a space fit for soaring spirits.
Gaudí's own life is a very modern one. He ignored his ... faith until he was 42, by which time he was a famous and well-paid architect, something of a dandy courted by wealthy Barcelona industrialists to design their show-off houses. He was the leading light of the Catalan movement of arts and crafts known as the Renaixença, and knew he was far ahead of his generation. But he was knocked off course by being rejected by a woman he loved, and began to explore – in a very modern, considered way, in full knowledge of the alternatives – the beliefs in which he had until then shown little interest. Over the next 30 years, he shed his wealth, spent more and more time in prayer, gave up meat and alcohol, put his money into improving the lot of the poor of his barrio, and dedicated himself entirely to the Sagrada Família, convinced that God had called him to this great task. He died, after being run over by a tram, at age 72, a beloved pauper, lauded as genius and admired as a saint.
The Catholic church is now on its way to officially declaring him one, not because of his magnificent creation – although, of course, the Sagrada cannot be separated from his faith – but because of the evidence and fruits of a life geared to God. Unlike other geniuses such as Picasso (who loathed Gaudí for ideological reasons but was indebted to his art) or Mozart, Gaudí never burned out. He diligently worked on the basilica for over 40 years. He understood that artistic genius was a powerful gift, which led to a reckless ego; he actively compensated for that gift through penance and expiation, self-sacrifice and giving. Convinced that God is revealed first through His creation, his faith led his genius and technical prowess ever deeper into the origins of beauty, not away from them. At a time when technological progress leads to arrogance, Gaudí offers leaves and lizards, eggs and branches, and asks us to look again.
... Gaudí's great basilica, initiated in 1883 and projected to be completed between 2026 to 2030, had been funded exclusively by public donations, and now, mostly, from the entrance fees of 2.5 million visitors a year, more than any other tourist destinations within Spain.
The Sagrada Familia in numbers:
14,000 people can fit inside the Sagrada Familia
170 metre high central tower dedicated to Jesus (the tallest religious building in the world)
12 bells to represent the 12 apostles of Jesus
120 metres long and 90 metres wide, the size of a football field
What have you learned or found interesting about Gaudi?
Have you heard of the Sagrada Familia or seen pictures of it?
Can you relate to Gaudi's love for nature? Or have you ever felt God's presence when looking at something in nature?
What do you think Gaudi was trying to communicate when he was building this cathedral?