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Sagrada Família: finishing touches to Gaudí masterpiece

Spires’ sculptures unveiled as Antoni Gaudí’s temple set to be completed by 2026

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20 September 2019 04:54 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Sagrada Família, the unfinished masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, is slowly but surely being completed.

Construction began in 1882, and the temple is finally entering its final stage. Now, only 25% of the project remains, including a further ten spires.

Four of the remaining spires will be dedicated to the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The designs of the pinnacles and the marble sculptures crowning them were unveiled on Thursday, with a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle symbolizing the authors of the four Gospel.

The four spires will be completed by 2021, and the Sagrada Família as a whole is set to be completed in 2026.

  • "[Josep Maria Subirachs] once told me: you’ll follow my work. But I was a young idiot, and so I never thought about that"

    Xavier Medina-Campeny · Sculptor

The statues were designed by Xavier Medina-Campeny, a disciple of Josep Maria Subirachs, the revolutionary sculptor whose controversial account of Jesus Christ’s passion in one of the buildings façades sparked both criticism and acclamation.

"He once told me: you’ll follow my work. But I was a young idiot, and so I never thought about that," said Medina-Campeny.

Bringing Gaudí’s original plans down to earth has been the perennial challenge of hundreds of architects, sculptors, and construction workers, with his unique taste for symbolism shaping every detail of the project, from the bottom to the top.

When construction works are over, the tallest tower, dedicated to Jesus Christ, will be 172.5 meters. The reasons are not architectural, but religious. Gaudí believed that whatever humans did, they should never aim higher than God’s own work—in other words, nature. The hill of Montjuïc, 177 meters high, set a natural limit for Gaudí’s most ambitious project.

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  • Four of the Sagrada Família's spires will be crowned with statues from the Catalan sculptor Xavier Medina-Campeny (by Pere Francesch)

  • Four of the Sagrada Família's spires will be crowned with statues from the Catalan sculptor Xavier Medina-Campeny (by Pere Francesch)

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