This is a bit of a cheat as the original post wasn’t written on this date, but in April 2017, however several people expressed a desire to have another look around this beautiful site in Barcelona so I hope Fandango doesn’t mind. The April date coincided with another post I wanted to return to.
This breathtakingly beautiful site is full of wonderful mosaics, colours, sculptures, windows, artistic design and architectural details from the modernist era.
First I will show you the map of the site again so you can see where the pavilions are situated and then we’ll take a stroll around the site.
After going through the entrance gate with our pre-booked tickets we found ourselves following the underground tunnel which brought us out just in front of the Casa D’Operacions (Sant Cosme and Sant Damia). For what felt like an eternity both my daughter and I were stunned into silence as we gazed around us. From the front we were already in awe of the craftsmanship we had seen, but we didn’t expect such beauty to continue so meticulously.
In January 2017 I wrote several posts about the amazing Sagrada Familia which I visited with my daughter on a mother/daughter holiday to Barcelona in October 2016. A most wonderful trip even if it was quite exhausting!
On 11 July 2010, the Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI and elevated to the status of a basilica. It is not, as some assume, a cathedral as it is without a bishop’s headquarters. But the huge dimensions of the interior is worthy of that status.
Stepping inside the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is like stepping into an enchanted forest. Tall trees towering above us; their branches creating a canopy. The streams of coloured light; the verticality and the enormous, seemingly empty space takes your breath away. At first I didn’t know what to look at, where to begin the tour, what to focus my camera on. Double-storey height windows flood the space with a light never before seen within a church.
The nave is a sight to behold. A work of mathematical genius with natural light flooding in through clear glass leaded panels to allow as much light in as possible.
The columns are modelled after a forest and form a light canopy of palm leaves.
I’m not going to go into all the symbolism of the basilica, you can find that out for yourself, instead I shall just let you have a look at some of the bits that caught my eye and where I could actually get a shot without dozens of people in the way. Continue reading Flashback Friday #4
Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.
A more recent visit to Europe on a ‘Mother/Daughter’ trip and the place we probably went through every day. The Plaça de Catalunya, a large plaza surrounded by monumental buildings, is Barcelona’s busiest square. It is located between the old city (Ciutat Vella) and the nineteenth century Eixample district. And has lots of pigeons!
Back to the lovely monastery of Pedralbes in Barcelona, which is a delightful place to visit and includes an exhibition of the Monastery Treasures. The founder of the monastery, Queen Elisenda of Montcada, created a convent of great spiritual and cultural importance. Her wealth, and that of the women who entered the convent, who had a high social background, brought valuable contributions to its assets.
…presents a unique collection of works of art, furniture, and secular and liturgical objects from the monastery treasure, built up, conserved and restored over the centuries by the Poor Clare community.
All of the paintings in this factitious altarpiece are the work of artists active in Catalonia during the first half of the 16th century.
The upper elements of the piece below are panels of a triptych, in which the side panels were the doors.
The most notable piece of this factitious set is the Virgin with the child in a landscape (bottom right), which may be attributed to Joachim Patinir and his workshop.
Towards the end of the 15th century the monastery entered a period of reforms driven by Ferdinand II of Aragon. Life in the cloistered community became stricter. At the same time the importation of Flemish artwork into Catalonia took place as close trade relations were formed between the Spanish and northern Europe.
The most significant piece of this factitious work is the Announcement (top left) which may be attributed to an unknown Flemish artist known as the Master of the Legend of Saint Catherine. The domestic interiors are reminiscent of the Jan van Eyck models that Van der Weyden had reproduced.
‘Factitious’ altarpieces combine pictorial and occasionally, sculptural sections of different provenance and styles. So we find Spanish and Flemish works side by side. The tableaus have often been trimmed to size to fit into the new structure. They were generally made in the mid-sixteenth century and inspiration for their manufacture may have come from the classicist architecture at the time. Three of them preserve the heraldry of the nuns who paid for their production or owned them.
Of a similar format to the factitious pieces of Pedralbes, this is a unitary collection. Its paintings may be attributed to the Catalan artist Joan Mates.
The two central figures derive from a model by Jan Gossaert while the added angel and landscape is an idea from Pieter Coecke van Aelst.
A factitious triptych with doors added to the central relief. A work of art from the Italian Renaissance was exceptional. The relief which feature the Adoration of the Kings but with an Announcement to the shepherds in the background, is made from the characteristic glazed terracotta of the Florentine workshop of the Della Robbia family.
This diptych is one of the characteristic formats of “devotional painting” of the former Low Countries. The unknown painter probably had a workshop in which such paintings were almost mass-produced, exploiting models tracing back indirectly to the works of Rogier van der Weyden.
The descriptive tendency and open window in the background point to a Nordic artist of discreet quality with knowledge of Italian Renaissance as regards typologies and body language.
The sculptures in the niches of this altarpiece may have been lost in the Spanish Civil War. The relief of the Epiphany comes from the workshop of Damia Forment. The coat of arms links this to Sister Teresa de Cardona who was the first cousin of King Ferdinand II.
By the beginning of the seventeenth century the community in Pedralbes had witnessed a gradual but relentless decline in their income. Subsidies from King Phillip II and aid from the Council of the One Hundred assisted them in building the infirmary and renewing their cloisters. The Catalan Revolt of 1640 worsened their position as did the 18th century War of the Spanish Succession. At the end of that century further royal donations came to their assistance and helped to renovate and improve the building and the liturgical ornamentations. Despite the precarious financial situations the nuns would not renounce the maintenance and renewal of their liturgical adornments and some interesting works of art were purchased during this time.
Now for the surprise. The interior of that marvellous Administration building which welcomes you to the site. I would imagine that simply walking into this building would immediately lift your senses. As for working here…
The magnificent staircase that leads up from the impressive foyer is a perfect example of the relationship between architecture and decoration.
The small cupola over the stairs is a stained glass skylight that fulfils one of the principles of Modernism: that of assigning a prominent role to light and colour. Something that Domènech i Montaner was master of.
The ceiling is made up of nine vaults resting on stone and marble columns. All the vaults are clad in pink-lilac rectangular tiles, arranged like sprigs.
The central vault features emblems of Barcelona and Catalonia, the cross of Barcelona Cathedral and the cross of Saint Jordi.
You can go up that magnificent staircase, where you will find a corridor of glass and stained-glass windows and a particularly dramatic hall where the ceramics and the stonework leave you with your mouth open.
You could spend a lot of time simply admiring the craftsmanship in this hall.
This is the last of my series on the Art Nouveau site. I do hope I haven’t bored you all, but it is a fascinating and very rare example of that style of architecture and it is admirable that the work carried out has been done to meet three fundamental criteria: recover the original constructions designed by Domènech i Montaner, transform the pavilions in to functional work spaces and apply sustainability and energy saving parameters.
Source:All the information in these Sant Pau posts is taken from the admission booklet.
How to get there: Metro: L5 Sant Pau / Dos de Maig or L2 to Sagrada Familia and walk up Avenue de Gaudi Bus: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192