La Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona, Spain, that has been under construction since 1882. In 1883 Antoni Gaudi (known as God’s Architect) took over, and in 1884 he was appointed Architect Director. He changed the design drastically; it is considered to be Art Nouveau style, with influences of Spanish Late Gothic, and Catalan Modernism. The columns, towers, vaults, windows and sculpture are based on natural forms, including trees, shells, tortoises and wings. Gaudi and several masons worked on the church until his death in 1926 when La Sagrada Familia was only about 25% complete. Work progressed slowly until recently.
From Jon, “When my wife Mary and I visited La Sagrada Familia in 2012, we were surprised by hundreds of workmen with high-tech equipment speeding its completion. When I looked up into the vaults over the nave, I broke down and wept. It was one of the most worshipful moments I’ve ever experienced! My painting shows scaffolding dimly in the distance, but the Art Nouveau columns and vaults in the foreground are completed.
The painting, Exaltation One, is an expression of my experience.
At the time of our visit the stained-glass windows were incomplete. Joan Vila-Grau won the competition for the stained-glass windows, following Gaudi’s guidelines, and installation began in 1999. When a friend and fellow artist, Mary Allen, visited the basilica in 2016, she photographed the completed stained-glass windows. The four sections bordering the nave express the four seasons through the distribution of color and light. My paintings are based on her photos.”
Expected to be completed in 2026, La Familia Sagrada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed it a minor basilica in 2010.