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Modernism

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família

Rambla de Catalunya
Passeig de Gràcia
L'Illa de la Discòrdia
Avinguda Diagonal
Carrer Roger de Llúria
Carrer València
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Passeig de Sant Joan
Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
Hospital de Sant Pau

 
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Of all the architectural masterpieces in Barcelona and in Catalonia, the Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly the one with the most important symbolic value. It is the symbol of the modernist architecture of Barcelona and the most influential work by Gaudí.

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The Temple was originally a private initiative, that of Josep Maria Bocadella, who chaired the Associació Espiritual de Devots de Sant Josep. Work began in 1882 under the direction of Francesc de Paula Villar, who intended to give the work a neogothic style, in fashion at that time. However, the differences between the architect and the municipality led him to give up the project. He was replaced by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet who, from then on, would give the work his own personality.

The Temple has three façades, one of which looks onto the streets Marina and Cerdenya, the so-called Birth, which was built in the year 1891. The second one is the Passion, with the door of the Faith. It is presided over by the symbol of Saint Joseph, and includes groups of sculptures devoted to the visitation and to the infancy of Jesus. There are three groups of sculptures in the symbol of Jesus: the Annunciation, Nativity and Coronation of the Virgin.

Lastly, to the left can be found the door of hope, with the symbol of Mary and scenes concerning the holy family (a rock from Montserrat mountain, the spiritual heart of Catalonia, was placed on the crest).

The main façade which faces the sea evokes the Glory of God. The Towers, which are the main symbol of the temple, are more than 100m high and, according to the plans, above them, at 170m, crowning the central dome of the nave, a symbol of the Saviour will be installed.

Before his death, Gaudí had time to complete most of the interiors of the temple. The architect was so obsessed by this project that he even slept in the temple. It is thought that a distraction due to being lost in thought about the work may have been what prevented him from seeing the tram which knocked him down in 1926.

When Gaudí died, the architect Sugrañés i Gras took over the project until 1935, when the work came to a standstill because of the Civil War. After the interruption of the war, the architect Quintana i Vidal took over the work, followed by Lluís Bonet, Isidre Puig, Francesc de Paula Cardoner and the current coordinating architect, Jordi Bonet.

The sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs is currently in charge of the sculptures (which some people criticize for their stylized lines, considered to be too distant from the original idea of Gaudí).

The best way for visitors to get to know Gaudí's projects is to visit the Sagrada Familia Museum, which exhibits abundant graphic material on the design of this temple. Visitors can climb to the top of one of the towers of the temple, which offers extraordinary views both of the city and of the temple itself.


   
   
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