La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
It took three visits to Barcelona before we actually went inside La Sagrada Familia cathedral. When Lisa and I visited Barcelona during the summer after we had celebrated our first anniversary of marriage, La Sagrada Familia was not open for visitors. We saw it from the outside, and while it was interesting, it didn't look very much like a cathedral and Lisa didn't really like the architecture at all. (It looked like a sand drip castle on a grand scale.) Then, last year, when we visited Barcelona with our kids, we were put off by the long lines to buy (not cheap) tickets when for most cathedrals in Europe it is possible simply to walk in.
But this year we were with a group of IVCF students at the Study Abroad Launch (see previous post) and we had planned to go together as a group. So we finally went on a tour and were able to view the whole thing, inside and outside, including the basement gallery, which was a highlight for me.
La Sagrada Familia was commissioned nearly 150 years ago and it's central vision was shaped by Antonio Gaudi, who began work on it in the 1880s and died as a result of a tram accident in 1926. Since then, work has proceeded according to Gaudi's models and designs and vision, and though it is not completed the cathedral has been in use for the last few years. A few things struck me during this visit:
(Above) The description (including in English) of how the Magic Square's cells add up to 33 in multiple ways, including all the rows, columns, and diagonals, as well as a number of other symmetrical pieces of the Magic Square.
(Left) This is a study of how the columns, to support the arches, change their cross section from circular to star-shaped, to rectangular to splitting into two square-shaped supports, to back to circular again. Every cross section has multiple axes of symmetry, and mathematical elegance.
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We visited Sagrada Familia in March and stood in awe as soon as we walked in the entrance. gaudy was a keen observer of nature and translated its geometry into the architecture of the soaring space with profound genius. It will be one of those spaces that stays with me for the rest of my life. Fortunately, we visited in late afternoon when the lines were shorter and the cathedral was not crowded. The late afternoon light streaming through the stained glass was simply full of splendor.
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Rich and Lisa Lamb