Antonio Gaudí, Architect, Mason, and Saint?

Three days ago Google celebrated the 161st birthday of Antonio Gaudí, the eccentric Catalan architect responsible for one of Barcelona’s most symbolic basilica, La Sagrada Familia. Since 1992 the Vatican has tried to canonize Gaudí, and in recent years, those in favor of his beatification say they have proof that he can also produce miracles. It seems very probable to me that Gaudí will be canonized before La Sagrada Familia is completed in 2026. Gaudí, also known as “God’s architect” is also known for his devotion to Catholicism and this is clear in the symbols he uses in his masterpieces.

 

While exploring Barcelona and doing my version of the Barcelona architecture tour I noticed that there are other symbols in his work that don’t belong in the Catholic religion. What I find really surprising is that a Catholic Orthodox person would use symbols that have concrete meaning outside of the Catholic religion. Could the Vatican be making a mistake by canonizing Antonio Gaudí?

 

La Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudí masterpiece

 

La Sagrada Familia, by Antonio Gaudí

 

Perhaps Antonio Gaudí experienced an independent action in the field of spirituality located in Catholic orthodoxy but with a practice that went beyond Catholicism. By studying every single one of his masterpieces in detail you will notice that in them abound signs and symbols that are heritage of certain secret societies. Gaudí’s biographers all agree that during his youth, the architect felt interest in advanced social ideas learned of Charles Fourier and John Ruskin, as well as maintaining relationships with more advanced social movements of the time.

 

Some of his biographers argue that Antonio Gaudí was a Mason and that some of his works as “La Sagrada Familia” and the Park Güell contain multiple symbols of Freemasonry. The writer Josep Maria Carandell discusses in his book “Park Güell: Gaudí’s Utopia” details of Masonic roots and rejects the argument that there is lack of evidence to suggest that Antonio Gaudí was part of a secret organization ralated to Masonry. But its not only Carandell that portrays Gaudí with a light other than Catholic. The very first person to suggest that Antonio Gaudí was a Freemason was Joan Llarc in his book Gaudí, Magical Biography. Llarch ensures that Gaudí constantly ingested Amanita Muscaria, (a hallucinogenic mushroom found in Montseny, a mountain range west of the coastal hills north of Barcelona) and had developed an addiction to it. Today, you can see this fungus crowning the vent pipe of one of the goalposts of Park Güell. Did Gaudí create his famous architectural masterpieces under this altered state? Eduardo Cruz, another one of his biographers, believes Gaudí was Rosicrucian, and some other trends even suggest pantheistic and atheistic. Naturally, critics of these theories claim that a Christian like Guadi could not possibly be a Mason, in any way or form.

 

 The Salamder in Park Guell which was designed by Gaudi. The Salamander is a Masonic symbol

 

 

Park Guell, by Antonio Gaudi showing the three dimensional cross and the mushroom

 

 

Antonio Gaudí is renowned for his ability to combine bold artistics concepts with mystic techniques. La Sagrada Familia is loaded with mystic symbols. On one side there is a magic square found in the Passion Facade of the Sagrada Familia. In particular the magic square of the Sagrada Familia sums to 33, which is the highest degree in the Masonic lodges, and is also the age at which Jesus dies on the Cross.  There are other references to Masonry in the Park Güell. Its main staircase has 33 steps, and a three-dimensional cross which crowns a good number of his works of art.

 

 

Magic Cube found in La Sagrada Familia. One of Gaudi's masterpieces.

 

Whether Antonio Gaudí was a Mason or not does not take away that he was an extraordinary architect.  Let us also reflect on this quote by Parcel Proust  “the voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Are you ready to see the world through a different set of glasses?

 

Casa Milà, one of Gaudi's buildings

 

Design done by Gaudi in Park Guell

 

View of La Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi

 

Would you like to discover other highlights of Spain?  Click here for trip ideas for your Spain tour.

 

References:
Ama María Férrin. 2001. Gaudí, la huella del genio. Jaraquemada Editores. Barcelona
J. Castellar-Gassol. 1999. Gaudí. Vida d’un visionari. Edicions de 1984. Barcelona
Joan Llarch. 1982. Gaudí. Biografía mágica. Plaza y Janés. Barcelona
Josep M. Carandell. 2005. Park Güell, utopía de Gaudí. Triangle Postals. Barcelona
Jordi Elías. 1961. Gaudí, assaig Biogràfic. Circo. Barcelona
Ernesto Milà. 1994. El misterio de Gaudí. Martínez Roca. Barcelona
Eduardo Rojo Albarrán. 1987. Antonio Gaudí, ese desconocido. A. Romero. Sant Cugat del Vallés

4 Responses to Antonio Gaudí, Architect, Mason, and Saint?

  1. I enjoyed seeing these pictures and remembering my fascination with Gaudi’s unique works in Barcelona. I can’t comment on Gaudi’s religion – I just think of him as an artist. (I will say I have family members who are Masons and consider themselves Christians.)

    http://cindamackinnon.wordpress.com June 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM Reply
    • Hi Cinda, he was definitely at an artist and nowadays he is being considered more than than and will most likely be canonized. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a Mason and a Catholic or Protestant, however, the Orthodox Catholic Church is convinced and has always taught that Masonry is an unchristian, indeed an Antichristian organization, and as such, cannot he tolerated within the Orthodox Catholic Church. I wonder if the Vatican would reconsider making him a saint if there was enough proof that he was a Mason.

      Will Castillo July 2, 2013 at 3:52 PM Reply
  2. Very interesting comment on Gaudi and religion. I have seen his works in Barcelona and Mallorca and it seems so surreal and otherworldly to me. If he was a mason, he was certainly an inventive one at that.

    Suzy July 1, 2013 at 2:33 AM Reply
    • Thank you Suzy. I appreciate your comment. Gaudi is one of my favorite architects. Very revolutionary.

      Will Castillo July 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM Reply

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