April 24, 2012

0183 SPAIN (Catalonia) - Sagrada Família - part of Works of Antoni Gaudí (UNESCO WHS)

Sagrada Família, on its full name Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family), is considered by the critic Paul Goldberger "the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages". The idea of building this church was launched by an pious organization whose sole purpose was to stop de-Christianization of the Barcelonese. The organization bought in 1877 a land in the new Eixample district and entrusted the project to the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, who offered to draw for free plans for the magnificent temple.

Building work began in 1882, but del Villar fell in a strong depression, overcomed, it seems, by the complexity of the project, so a year later Antoni Gaudí (who had only 31 years old) assumed responsibility for its design, which he changed radically. Even if the brilliant Catalan architect devoted almost rest of his life for the building of the church (in the last 15 years dealing exclusively of it), in 1926, when he died, only a façade, a spire and the crypt (in which he will be buried) was completed. The work continued under the direction of Domènec Sugrañes i Gras, it was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Parts of the unfinished basilica and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work. The current director and son of Lluís Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. It's intended the completion of the work in 2026, at the centennial of Gaudí's death. In November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI

The Church will have three grand façades: the Nativity façade to the East (completed before 1935 - built by Gaudí himself), the Passion façade to the West (dedicated to the suffering and death of Christ - began in 1954 and decorated with carvings by Josep Maria Subirach), and the Glory façade to the South (will represent the ascension to God - began in 2002). Gaudí's original design had a total of 18 spires, representing (in ascending order of height) the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ

The Evangelists' spires will be surmounted by sculptures of their traditional symbols: a bull (Saint Luke), an angel (Saint Matthew), an eagle (Saint John), and a lion (Saint Mark). The central spire of Jesus Christ is to be surmounted by a giant cross; the spire's total height (170m) will be one metre less than that of Montjuïc hill in Barcelona, as Gaudí believed that his creation should not surpass God's. The completion of the spires will make Sagrada Família the tallest church building in the world.

Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 2005, when it was added to the site Works of Antoni Gaudí, UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1984, about which I wrote here.

About the stamps

Designed by J. Carrero and issued on May 6, 2010 in 320,000 copies, the first stamp has as theme Children's books, the theme chosen by PostEurop for Europa stamps 2010.

The second one, depicting Marie Curie, is a commemorative one issued on July 2, 2011, with the occasion of the International Year of Chemistry. The year 2011 coincided also with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Madame Marie Curie and with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.  

Sagrada Família - Wikipedia
Sagrada Família - Official website

Sender: Fabienne (direct swap)
Sent from Madrid (Madrid / Spain), on 27.12.2011

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