Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 10 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Michael of the Saints

Gaudi and the Highlander Principle

Simcha Fisher - published on 06/25/13

Happy birthday to Atoni Gaudi, the mad builder of Barcelona.  When I was visiting my sister when she lived there, we toured La Sagrada Familia, which he started in 1883 and which is still unfinished.  Gaudi’s trademark style is the “sandcastle” look and feel

with mind-bending curves and Seussian angles

with bright colors and unexpected juxtapositions of heavy geometric shapes.  I don’t actually know what the conventional wisdom is about Gaudi’s architecture, especially La Sagrada Familia.  Do traditionally-minded folks recoil in horror, because it’s so . . . well, gaudy?

and really does look like some insane person built a sandcastle and then enlarged it and painted it with Prang Tempras?  Or do people easily recognize that his stuff, while weird and disorienting, is architecturally brilliant, and transmits a sensation of giddiness and exaltation?

Maybe it’s easier to tell in person how fantastic it is.  I always wonder about that, when I see pictures of some ucky new church or piece of sculpture that the Catholic internet hates.  Architecture is, after all, designed to be seen in person, in the actual light and from the actual perspective of someone who’s actually there, and photos don’t necessarily catch anything of that experience.

On the other hand, Gaudi falls under the Highlander Principle of art:  there can be only one.  It was really great one time.  But that’s it!  One guy can get away with it!  No more!  The same goes for Jackson Pollock, John Cage, and, in a way, G. M. Hopkins.  You love the experience, but you don’t necessarily want any imitators or influencees.

What do you think of Gaudi?  Have you seen his stuff in person?

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Archbishop Georg Gänswein
I.Media for Aleteia
Gänswein: Benedict XVI expected to live only a few months after r...
2
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
11 Interesting facts about the late Prince Philip
3
Philip Kosloski
Why you can eat meat on Easter Friday
4
Francisco Veneto
Priest brother of pilot whose plane broke in two says “St. ...
5
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
6
resurrection
Philip Kosloski
4 Fun facts about Easter Week
7
NUNS
John Burger
Benedictine nuns in Missouri seem to be targeted by shootings
See More