Spain: Gaudi, Picasso & Climbing


I just got back from a week in Spain where I was taking a break from working so I could return and be refreshed and powered up for the final push till the degree show!

Now I am back, but I saw many exciting things in Spain that I wanted to share with you. My trip was primarily with the purpose of climbing, because the limestone crags in Siurana are some of the best in the world, but we were flying in to Barcelona and I wanted to see some things there.

The first on my list of things was the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's grand Basilica of immense proportions which has architecture of a Gothic style, but with a twist that it is based entirely off of patterns in nature. You can see why I wanted to go and see this now, it is not just any church. Most cathedrals don't interest me much, but something with unique, beautiful architecture and stone work does. Here are some photos looking at the most interesting parts.

S.F. was designed with three façades:, named Nativity, Passion and Glory (yet to be completed). In the above photos you can see the Passion and Nativity facades. You can see how the contrast, indeed they are on opposing faces of the basilica, one is stark and geometric, the other is elaborate and organic.


Being inside the central nave, one is immediately aware of the sense of scale. The supporting columns tower into the space above, and their form and shape give you the impression of being a very small insect in a field of flowers, or perhaps some small creature in a woodland made of absolute behemoths of trees. 


In fact, Gaudi did base the design of these columns from trees. It was very interesting to see his sketches, studies and observations which are presented in a museum on the grounds. His observations of the intricate patterns in nature are so fascinating, he was without a doubt an architectural genius. I can also really relate to his work because my illustrations are also all based on this idea of patterns in nature. Would my work every take on a giant three dimensional architectural format, it would probably look something like this.

Another thing that I found really cool about the Sagrada Familia, was how dynamic it is. As the light changes throughout the day, so does the look of the interior. Light shines through the stained glass windows, making beautiful splashes of colour on the pillars and reflecting off of glass orbs which are fixed to the four central supporting columns above the altar. As the basilica won't be finished until 2026, 100 years after Gaudi's fatal collision a tram (quite a mundane way to go for someone so inspiring), I can look forward to seeing in the future, should I not also be hit by a tram or something between then and now.

That was the most exciting part of my stay in Barcelona, and we only stayed there for two days so I didn't get to see very much. We went to Park Guell in the afternoon, and then wandered around the old town and went to the beach in the evening. Before leaving the following morning, I made a quick trip to the Picasso Museum which was also of interest to me.

The museum is curated in a way that follows Picasso's life, and so it contours the stylistic progression of his work, as he moved from painting traditional landscapes, to his blue period, rose period, african inspired art, cubism, classisim and surrealism. It was interesting to see this progression of work, and how he was influenced by being surrounded by different things. I found it interesting to see his studies for his rendition of the famous, 'Las Meninas' and the other thing I really liked which I hadn't seen before was his ceramic work. Here is a picture of a ceramic owl:

The rest of the time I was in Spain I was mostly climbing and enjoying the sun, here is a picture of me climbing a route called Lame Chucha Baby.

That is all for now, thanks fo' readin'.