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Kernels of truth—and illusion

CORN Jul 06
  • Kernels of truth—and illusion

Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona. Photo by Kelly S. Kurt

You have to stand back to take in all of Antonio Gaudí’s unfinished Sagrada Familia. Way back. Oceans. For it did not occur to me standing in, under, adjacent or atop the cathedral that the four spires of la Sagrada are simply four great, towering ears of corn. Stone panels jut beneath coverless windows, designed to funnel the arid winds of Barcelona. As with certain hybrid ears, the alternating nubs and holes depict a less-than-wholesome genome. For those who prefer their cathedrals to follow more conventional lines, Gaudí’s church is a bum ear of corn. Such is its nature. The towers, which tilt just a little, just enough, are topped ornately: Hosanna y Excelsis, spelled out in colored glass, crowned in a tassel of sun-drenched, daisy-shaped stone.