"I will not finish or develop further the fragments of model of the bell towers on the main facade. I have decided to leave it only scheduled so that another generation will collaborate on the Temple, as is repeatedly seen in the history of cathedrals.
The work of the Sagrada Familia progresses slowly because the master of this work is in no great hurry."
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Lessons From Barcelona
Funny how some things continue to reverberate through one's mind for some time. A particularly thought provoking book or film for example, sometimes rattles around in my head for weeks, months, years. My recent trip to Barcelona is still rattling in there too, and I think I have gained some interesting perspectives from the time we spent there.
The first thought I keep returning to was sparked by a quotation from Gaudi I came across on our first day in the city. It struck me so much at the time that I wrote it down. On the subject of his passion and masterwork, La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi wrote:
I find this an amazing and inspiring attitude. Gaudi was completely obsessed with his creation, even living at the construction site so that he could devote all his time to the work in hand. And yet he was able to stand back enough, trust enough, to leave some of the vision to unknown, perhaps as yet unborn others to complete. I know that I would find that really hard. I may not be building a cathedral - only painting a wooden box, fringing a shawl or moulding a mask, but I have in my head a clear idea of what I want it to be. I would find it incredibly hard to hand over to someone else, and even if I did, the temptation to stand over the project supervising would be overwhelming. And this was Gaudi's master work, almost his raison d'etre. How incredible to have that trust in the unknown future... I find that very humbling and very inspiring.
In the second part of the quote I initially thought Gaudi was referring to himself as 'the master of this work', but on reflection I think he meant God. I think he meant that as the work he was doing was for God, only God need worry about how long it took to complete. And as God is immortal, then he is not at all worried.
I may not worship the same God as Gaudi, but I like the idea of dedicating our creative endeavours to whatever we hold sacred, be it spirit, God, Goddess, the ocean or our beloved ones. It gives the creative process a whole extra dimension, and, I suspect, gives added integrity to the process. For in creating as an act of devotion to that we hold sacred, how could we possibly turn out shoddy, sub standard or rushed results?