Day Three – Barcelona: Gaudí and Miró

After grabbing a quick pastry at a nearby shop, we took the subway (Metro) to a part of town known as Eixample, where an amazing sight awaited us, the unique church known as La Sagrada Familia (“The Holy Family). Work on the church began in 1882 and is still going on, with a hoped for completion date of 2026. The edifice is the magnum opus of a Catalan architect known as Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). It was 25% complete when he died, after 43 years of labor on the project. Gaudí was a deeply religious man who desired to build a church that communicated God’s message to mankind. When questioned about the excessive length of time for its construction, he replied, “My client is not in a hurry.”

The ladies waiting on the metro

The ladies waiting on the metro

The view of La Sagrada Familia as we exit the subway station

The view of La Sagrada Familia as we exit the subway station

The church, a blend of Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau, has three facades (two over the transepts and one at the entrance to the nave). The Nativity Facade was essentially the only finished part when Gaudí died. The Passion Facade was completed only in 2005, and although Gaudí’s general design was followed, the sculptures which adorn this facade are stark and modern. The Glory Facade, which will eventually be the main entrance to the church is still under construction.

Gaudi's Nativity Facade

Gaudi’s Nativity Facade

The Nativity which takes central place above the doors.  I love the ox and ass.

The Nativity which takes central place above the doors. I love the ox and ass.

A turtle at the base of a pillar on the Nativity Facade

A turtle at the base of a pillar on the Nativity Facade

Central column just outside the doors of the Passion Facade.

Central column just outside the doors of the Passion Facade.

The Passion Facade

The Passion Facade

Detail of the Passion Facade

Detail of the Passion Facade

Passion Facade detail: The denial of Peter

Passion Facade detail: The denial of Peter

Passion Facade Detail: The Betrayal Kiss

Passion Facade Detail: The Betrayal Kiss

The Glory Facade under construction

The Glory Facade under construction

The interior’s floor plan follows the traditional plan of the shape of the cross. The nave’s roof is 150 feet high. It’s columns are constructed like trees whose branches support the vaulted ceilings. The stained glass windows are such that the morning light shines through blues and greens (and other cool colors), while the setting sun shines through warm tones, like red and orange. Gaudí attempted to (and succeeded) make the church organic, blending nature with architecture. It was consecrated and declared to be a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, and services are occasionally held. After an audio-guided tour at ground level, we ascended one of the towers on the Passion Facade where grand views awaited.

The very modernist vaulted ceiling of La Sagrada Familia

The very modernist vaulted ceiling of La Sagrada Familia

The Baldachin of La Sagrada Familia (the canopy over the altar)

The Baldachin of La Sagrada Familia (the canopy over the altar)

The west-facing stained glass windows

The west-facing stained glass windows

The east-facing stained glass windows

The east-facing stained glass windows

A view through the nave toward the altar

A view through the nave toward the altar

Tree-like columns and vaulted ceilings

Tree-like columns and vaulted ceilings

The doors on the Passion Facade (The Lord's Prayer in Spanish with phrases in the languages of the world).

The doors on the Passion Facade (The Lord’s Prayer in Spanish with phrases in the languages of the world).

Birthday girls in La Sagrada Familia

Birthday girls in La Sagrada Familia

A view of the fruity tops of some of the spires

A view of the fruity tops of some of the spires

Cindy on the spiral steps down a tower of the Passion Facade

Cindy on the spiral steps down a tower of the Passion Facade

Men, beneath the church, still at work on the Basilica

Men, beneath the church, still at work on the Basilica

After lunch at a nearby McDonalds, we took the Metro to the Passeig de Grace, to view La Pedrera and the Block of Discord which contains a group of Spanish Modernist buildings. It has been named the block of discord because each of the three modernist architects attempted to outdo the other.

Gaudi's La Pedrera

Gaudi’s La Pedrera

Strolling down the Passeig de Grace (in front of the Block of Discord)

Strolling down the Passeig de Grace (in front of the Block of Discord)

Gaudi's contribution to the  Block of Discord: The Casa Battlló

Gaudi’s contribution to the
Block of Discord: The Casa Battlló

Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Lleó Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner

Casa Lleó Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner

We hopped back on the Metro to the Plaça d’Espanya. From there, we walked up past the National Museum of Catalan Art to make our way to the Joan Miró museum. Our sore legs and feet were not happy when we got a little lost, adding quite a few more steps and uphill climbs to our already challenging stroll. But, eventually we arrived and enjoyed a walk-through of the Fundació Joan Miró, which contains the best collection in the world of the modern Catalan artist, Joan Miró. His work is usually classified among the surrealists, but he definitely set the table for the abstract expressionists. While I don’t find his art beautiful or inspiring, it certainly is interesting. He worked during a time in which traditional, representational art was rejected in favor of celebrating the creative potential of the unconscious mind. The temporary exhibit focused on the game of chess and Marcel Duchamp (and other contemporary artists) who were very involved in the game and incorporated it into their art.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic, seen enroute to the Miró museum

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic, seen enroute to the Miró museum

A view over the Magic Fountain toward Plaza D'Espanya

A view over the Magic Fountain toward Plaza D’Espanya

Looking toward the Plaza D'Espanya from the front of the Museum of Catalan Art

Looking toward the Plaza D’Espanya from the front of the Museum of Catalan Art

Miró's Self Portrait, a rather good-looking chap

Miró’s Self Portrait, a rather good-looking chap

A Miró

A Miró

And Another

And Another

And Another

And Another

Cindy's attempt at copying one of the 20th century master's:  Quite a striking resemblance if you ask me!

Cindy’s attempt at copying one of the 20th century master’s: Quite a striking resemblance if you ask me!

Miró:  He burned holes in the canvas as part of the artwork.  It's all about the destruction of art.

Miró: He burned holes in the canvas as part of the artwork. It’s all about the destruction of art.

Standing in front of a Miró tapestry

Standing in front of a Miró tapestry

"Pair of Lovers Playing with Almond Blossoms."

“Pair of Lovers Playing with Almond Blossoms.”

Chess Set by Man Ray? (Can't quite remember)

Chess Set by Man Ray? (Can’t quite remember)

Marcel Duchamp's last readymade:  A Chessboard

Marcel Duchamp’s last readymade: A Chessboard

Birthday Girls before a large Miró work

Birthday Girls before a large Miró work

After our fill of Miró, we took the funicular down Montjuic where the museum was located and hopped on the Metro back to our hotel for a little rest. After a short rest, we headed out for Tapas once again. The next day, Wednesday, the 8th, we would leave on a train for Madrid.

A hot lady, ready to go for dinner with her new scarf

A hot lady, ready to go for dinner with her new scarf

Cindy's sore toes.

Cindy’s sore toes.

4 thoughts on “Day Three – Barcelona: Gaudí and Miró

  1. This is the portion of your trip I’ve been anxious to see. Fabulous photos and narration. You guys are going to have to wrap this trip up pretty soon. Cindy’s only got two toes left!

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