Legacy is a grandiose word. It conjures up images of the powerful leader, the proud paterfamilias or – if we are to look at it from Sartre’s point of view – the existential failure, who needs his life to be validated by others. There is also the legacy of the artist, whose works are often recognized only posthumously, such artists as those who influence and have influenced crusty education curricula, romantic affiliations and several forms of cinema for many years.
And then, there is Gaudi. Designer, architect and advocate of the “church for the people by the people”. He died more than a century ago. His work lives on. His vision will be finished. In all its elegant, complex and marvelous grandeur ….in 2026.
I had visited the Sagrada Familia 6 years ago and at the time was relatively disappointed by the drilling, the rattling, the beauty concealed – particularly disappointed in correlation with the entrance fee. And then, I visited again…last month. . engulfed in the moist grey chill of a typical day in March and lowered expectations. The greyness dissipated on entry. The luminescence of the stained glass windows no longer hidden from view, the paradoxically curved and angular structures of the ceilings and the staircases, the additional imposing towers all served to lluminate my mind, mood and view.
The real beauty lay in the fact that after all these years – 134 years following Gaudi’s death – this man’s vision continues to unfold, spurred on by the faith and appreciation of generations of people, who have made it their life’s mission to bring to life.
Several more towers will be built and several more visitors will grace its interior, delight in its playful architectural elegance and truly enjoy a legacy. Antonio Gaudi is Barcelona. Barcelona is Gaudi, Agradezco a los dos.