May 2019 - Barcelona Spain
May 22 Barcelona
From the outside, Santa Maria gives an impression of massive severity that belies the interior. It is hemmed in by the narrow streets of the Ribera, making it difficult to obtain an overall impression, except from the Fossar de les Moreres and the Plaça de Santa Maria, both of them former burial grounds.
The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea), also known as the "cathedral of La Ribera", is one of the most perfect examples of Gothic style architecture due to its harmonious proportions and the serenity of the ensemble.
Over the front door.
An example of early Catalan Gothic architecture, Santa Maria del Mar is extraordinary for its unbroken lines and elegance. At what was then the water's edge, the church was built by stonemasons who chose, fitted, and carved each stone hauled down from the same Montjuïc quarry that provided the sandstone for the 4th-century Roman walls.
The Rose Window,1459, is the work of Pere Joan and Andreu Escuder. The glass itself was made by Antoni Lunyi from Toulouse (France). The other stained glass and bull’s-eye windows were completed over a period of time, whenever the economic situation was good enough.
The medieval numerological symbol for the Virgin Mary, the number eight (or multiples thereof), runs through every element of the basilica: the 16 octagonal pillars are 2 meters in diameter and spread out into rib vaulting arches at a height of 16 meters; the painted keystones at the apex of the arches are 32 meters from the floor; and the central nave is twice as wide as the lateral naves (8 meters each).
The church survived the fury of anarchists who in 1936 burned nearly all of Barcelona's churches as a reprisal against the alliance of army, church, and oligarchy during the military rebellion. The basilica, then filled with ornate side chapels and choir stalls, burned for 11 days, nearly crumbling. Restored after the Civil War by a series of Bauhaus-trained architects, the church is now an architectural gem.
The 34 lateral chapels are dedicated to different saints and images.
And lots of stained glass.
The Annunciation and the Betrothal of the Virgin Mary were drawn by Lluís Masriera 1924. The ones in the side chapels were done some time after 1939.
The most recent window, next to the sacristy, was completed in 1995. It was designed by José Fernández Castrillo to commemorate the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
If you look at the floor you'll see private tombs and those of Barcelona's medieval guilds and brotherhoods.