I spent the last half of August traveling in Spain and Portugal. Seeing all the sights was a challenge to cover in the span of two weeks. The majority of my trip was spent in Spain taking in the art and culture of Barcelona and Madrid while realizing Antoni Gaudi definitely left his mark on Spain.
His most well known piece of architecture is the Sagrada Familia. A gothic style Roman Catholic church that is still being completed years after his death much as he expected it to be. His response to the objections against the time to complete it was "Don't worry, my client isn't in a hurry."
The exterior of this building is filled with religious scenes nestled between columns and below looming towers and scaffolding. Eighteen spires crown the top of this church to represent the twelve apostles, the four Evangelists and the Virgin Mary. The plan for the Evangelist spires is to use traditional symbolism such as a bull for St. Luke, a winged man for St Matthew, an eagle for St. John and a lion for St. Mark in its representation.
The interior is bathed in colors of light through stained glass windows against enlarged structures based on nature while a canopy of abstract tree tops cover the ceiling. Gaudi's isolation in nature as an ill child became a basis for his designs and can be seen in small scale models within the church itself.
The price of admission aids in funding the ongoing work of the church which is scheduled for completion in 2026, being the 100th year anniversary of Gaudi's death.
It is said Gaudi died right across the street from the church, struck by a tram. Dressed in ragged attire, he appeared unrecognizable and was ignored by a city that would later be known for his work. Gaudi died in a pauper's hospital 10 days later and is buried amidst the Sagrada Familia.