exterior of the roof will still be unfinished. The construction council is optimistic that the Sagrada Familia will be completed in only fifty years.

Since 1992 there has been a movement among Barcelona’s Catholic hierarchy to effect Gaudí’s eventual canonization; it was given fresh impetus in 1998, and in April 2000 the Diocesan Beatification Process was officially opened. The city of Barcelona has declared 2002 the International Year of Gaudí to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Further reading

Bergós Massó, Juan. 1999. Gaudí, the Man and His Work. Boston: Little, Brown.

Burry, Mark. 1993. Expiatory Church of the Sagrada Família: Antoni Gaudí. London: Phaidon Press.

Zerbst, Rainer. 1988. Antoni Gaudí i Cornet: A Life Devoted to Architecture. Cologne: Taschen.

St. Chapelle

Paris, France

St. Chapelle, at 6 boulevard du Palais, is now surrounded by the Palace of Justice on the Ile de la Cité, Paris, near Notre Dame. It was built as a palatine chapel for King Louis IX of France (known as St. Louis, reigned 1226–1270) between 1242 and 1247, and consecrated on 26 April 1248. During Louis IX’s reign, Gothic architecture in France entered the rayonnant phase, its name derived from the radiating spokes of the large rose windows that characterized the style. Refining the stone-framed architecture of the age, architects further reduced the amount of solid wall in favor of expansive traceried stained-glass windows. The masonry that remained was in the form of narrow but very thick buttresses that dealt with the thrusts imposed by vaulted stone ceilings. St. Chapelle, with its luminous glass curtains, represents the highest degree of this structural refinement and is probably the most beautiful surviving example of the French Gothic of any phase.

In 1239 Louis IX purchased (at extravagant cost) a number of relics of the crucifixion of Christ from his bankrupt cousin, Jean de Brienne, the Emperor of Constantinople. The most important of them was the crown of thorns; there was also a piece of iron from the lance used by the soldiers and the sponge on which Jesus was offered sour wine. From de Brienne’s successor, Baudouin II, Louis bought a piece of the true cross. To purchase them and fashion a reliquary—a bejeweled chest that was destroyed during the French Revolution—it is said that Louis spent two and a half times what it cost to build St. Chapelle. Soon after acquiring the relics, he commissioned a private chapel within the royal palace on the Ile de la Cité to hold them. There is some debate about the identity of the architect; many sources identify Pierre de Montreuil, who had worked on Notre Dame, Paris, and St. Denis, but St. Chapelle may have been the work of Robert de Luzarches or Thomas de Cormont.


St. Chapelle, Paris, France; architect(s) unknown, 1242–1247. East end and spire, beyond the Palace of Justice.

The building in fact houses two chapels. The lower, entered from the courtyard, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was for the use of servants of the royal household. It is relatively low—its vaults are 22 feet (6.6 meters) high—and rather dimly lit. Two small spiral staircases within the walls connect it to