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Vital Signs

Homage to Gaudi

Barcelona is one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, and Barcelona’s most noted architect is Antoni Gaudí i Cornet.  It is worth visiting Catalonia and the cities of Barcelona and Reus just to see Gaudí’s work.  Eager visitors head for his masterpiece, Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Holy Family), which the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has made a basilica for its artistic merit.  Every tower in this many-towered building has its own religious significance.  Gaudí was commissioned to take over its design and construction in 1891, but cranes still frame the skyline alongside the not-yet-completed building.  He died in 1926 at the age of 73, after being knocked down by a streetcar, and is buried in his own great church.  A man of immense piety, Gaudí was a consciously Catholic architect devoted to the making of this unique church.

Gaudí’s architecture is both traditional and modern.  He draws on the Gothic Baroque and Mudéjar traditions of Spanish architecture and was greatly influenced by the thinking of John Ruskin, William Morris, and the British Arts and Crafts Movement.  Gaudí always tried to transcend these earlier styles and to introduce something new and modern.  He was dissatisfied with the bulkiness of Gothic buildings, which need flying buttresses...

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