The Monthly Salon: November
Sit, my friends, and listen ...
Greetings to you all, and welcome to the monthly ‘open mic’ session here at the Abbey of Misrule. This is a place where any of my paid subscribers can open a conversation about anything they’d like. I especially encourage anyone who doesn’t regularly comment to come and step up, if they’d like to, and introduce new angles, ideas, critiques, thoughts, or whatever. There’s no line, and no pressure. Bring what you have, and set it down before us.
The image above is one I wanted to share with you all this week. It’s the interior of the Sagrada Familia, the great cathedral in Barcelona designed by the architectural genius Antoni Gaudí. I visited Barcelona last week, and while I was there I went to an evening mass in the cathedral, which is still under construction nearly 150 years after it was begun. It is an astonishing place, and entirely unique. Gaudí was, according to all the books, a ‘modernist’ architect, and this is obviously true. But what is also true was that he had a traditionalist sensibility, and was deeply religious. Combine all these elements, and doubtless more, and you get what you see here: a cathedral which builds on the classic European Gothic style but which then takes that style forward, or back, to its roots - literally, and with deep and glorious strangeness.
The interior of the Sagrada Familia feels - and looks - like a forest. The exterior frontage - which you can see here - looks like both a mountain of melted wax from a liturgical candle, and an exuberant outgrowth of natural beauty and wildness. Over a hundred species are carved in stone on the front of the building. The main columns are balanced on the back of two turtles. It’s an astonishing piece of work. If God is an artist, and nature His creation - and I believe this to be true - then Gaudí here shows us how this can manifest in the human built environment. I dream of a world in which every city is built on this kind of mystical foundation. Dreams are allowed, and nobody can make you pay for them.
Now I’m rambling. Feel free to ramble yourself here in any direction at all.