So much beauty out there

May 1, 2009

Barcelona (3)

Filed under: All,Dear Diary,Travel — Josh @ 5:13 pm

As it happens, a combination of May 1 closures (including the Picasso gallery) and my sore feet meant that I didn’t do much today, dodging the rain in the morning and the sun in the afternoon. If this is how hot it can get in Spain in May, I’m glad I’ll be gone by June.

First thing was the Sagrada Familia. Which is amazing though not always in a good way. Parts of it are simply breathtaking, other parts you just think someone should have taken Gaudi to one side and said “no-one’s disputing your genius, mate, but you really should think this bit over again.” Actually, I’m not sure how much of it is Gaudi’s design, and how much subsequent architects, but for shorthand I’ll act as if it’s all his.

Description really doesn’t work here, so I’m going to post lots of photos as illustration.
Yeah, so this looks awesome, doesnt it. The sculpture representing Christs crucifixion is incredible and has to be seen in full scale to do it justice.
Yeah, so this looks awesome, doesn’t it. The sculpture representing Christ’s crucifixion is incredible and has to be seen in full scale to do it justice. And this is the BACK…where architect’s generally settle for something simple.
But whats this all about (about half way up the towers)? It looks like its sponsored. The only thing missing is it being flashing neon.
But what’s this all about (about half way up the towers)? It looks like its sponsored. The only thing missing is it being flashing neon.
 
When I came over here, I knew precisely one phrase in Spanish. un medio kilo de naranjas por favor - half  a kilo of oranges. The only explanation I can think of for this is that when asked how he wanted to top these towers, Gaudi suddenly dropped to my vocabulary

When I came over here, I knew precisely one phrase in Spanish. "un medio kilo de naranjas por favor" - half a kilo of oranges. The only explanation I can think of for this is that when asked how he wanted to top these towers, Gaudi suddenly dropped to my vocabulary

The front. From this photo it looks a little over-cluttered actually, but to scale it is overwhelming.

The front. From this photo it looks a little over-cluttered actually, but to scale it is overwhelming.

The top of the towers. I assume Gaudi must have conflated his designs for an amusement park with his cathedral plans. Fortunately most peoples view, from about 150m below, minimises the impact of this horror.

The top of the towers. I assume Gaudi must have conflated his designs for an amusement park with his cathedral plans. Fortunately most peoples view, from about 150m below, minimises the impact of this horror.

After the Sagrada Familia, downscale in size and intensity, wandering around the old city. As I’m beginning to find in more and more cities (Venice and Stockholm being other examples) I’m getting a lot more just out of “ordinary” buildings than the spectacular ones, as the ambience built up is much more satisfying. But it doesn’t lend itself so well to commentary.

Then to the Museum of Contemporary Art, small, quite charming but without a single painting that is really notable.

Favourite? I think Richard Hamilton’s Instant Painting

Clear winner of the heavy-handed symbolism award, Joan Rabascall’s Atomic Kiss

4 Comments »

  1. Agreed on the big catherdal thing. How the hell did Gaudi think he could get away with topping such a majestic building with designs clearly inspired by a kid’s sweet shop…

    As for Casa Batllo – I was half-expecting Hugo Weaving and Liv Tyler to pop their heads out of the window. One of the my favourites, anywhere.

    Comment by Taff — May 1, 2009 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  2. Great pictures. I remember being totally overwhelmed by la Sagrada Familia, so much so that I can’t even remember little details about it. I hope you are having fun in Barcelona, what an absolutely beautiful city.

    Sagrada Familia: Brought to you by HOLINESS!

    Comment by Brad — May 1, 2009 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

    • So, Brad, if Sagrada Familia is brought to us by holiness, what does it say about holiness that it’s taking about a century to complete? Holiness is slacking on the job?

      Comment by Josh — May 2, 2009 @ 7:15 am | Reply

  3. Holiness will not be rushed.

    Comment by Winter — May 2, 2009 @ 10:59 am | Reply


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