When does a work of art become a work of art? At what point in the creative process does it move from mere potential to the thing itself? Is one singular note, one stroke of the brush, or a single chip of the chisel enough? Probably not.
How about two notes/strokes/chips off the old block? Ten? Fifty? A hundred?
No one would dispute that Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, the famous “Unfinished Symphony,” is a work of art. Or Chaucer’s never completed Canterbury Tales. Or any number of other famous unfinished works.
Let’s take the notion a step further: Is a thing a work of art when it’s still merely an idea? Were the melodies in Mozart’s mind works of art before he ever wrote it down or played a single chord? Was the Pietà a masterpiece while only a figment of Michelangelo’s imagination?
And still a step further: Were they all works of art in the mind of God, even before they were in the minds of men?
All questions to contemplate while watching Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation, a new documentary about Antoni Gaudi’s stunning—and unfinished—cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. For 125 years, including almost a century since Gaudi’s death, La Sagrada Familia has been, and remains, a work in progress.
The film’s subtitle alone—The Mystery of Creation—is worth pondering in light of the questions above. But the concept becomes more than mere theoretical meandering when reflecting on Gaudi’s magnum opus, and the brilliant architectural mind—or Mind—behind this glorious creation. Is it Gaudi’s work? Or is it God’s?
Gaudi, a Catholic, was a man of deep faith and constant prayer. He loved both God and ...1