Did you know? The joy of light at Torre Bellesguard

By: Ferran Garcés

In the words of Gaudí himself: “Glory is light, light brings joy, and joy is the joy of the spirit.” We can see an example of this glory at the Cathedral of Mallorca, where, for both the Candelaria and Saint Martin, the Festival of Light is celebrated. At that time, hundreds of people eagerly await to witness a phenomenon popularly known as “The Eight of the Seu.” The sun passes through the monumental rose window above the main altar, and its reflection is projected onto the opposite wall, where there is another rose window. Thus, for a brief period, a double rose window is formed—one of glass and the other of light. This is an example of what, in science, is known as gnomonics, and Gaudí described it as “the joy of light.”

Antoni Gaudí, who restored the Cathedral of Mallorca while building Torre Bellesguard, also demonstrated an understanding and mastery of the secrets of gnomonics. Generally, the applications of this science in the past have been reserved for temples, but Gaudí integrated it into a civil building as well—Torre Bellesguard, a work that, at its core, conceals a significant amount of religious symbolism (1). Our eight can be seen on Christmas Day.

Vuit de Mallorca

Estrella de Venus de Bellesguard

On the occasion of the celebration of our first tenth anniversary open to the public, Galdric Santana, current Gaudí chair and director of the Torre Bellesguard Research Group, gave a special lecture explaining the peculiar example of gnomonics in our building (2). It was a preview of a series of discoveries that will be fully revealed in 2026, coinciding with the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

On the other hand, Gaudí’s symbolic use of light in practical terms is astonishing, combining functionality with aesthetics. The study of the sun’s movement conditions the arrangement and shape of all the windows of Torre Bellesguard to ensure the maximum illumination of the building. Furthermore, throughout the rest of the year, Gaudí took into account a delightful lighting effect. By projecting a white wall in front of windows with colored glass, reflections of colors can be observed every day. Gaudí called them “the ephemeral paintings of God.” This effect can even be seen in winter, the season with the least sunlight.

As we mentioned at the beginning, in the words of Gaudí himself: “Glory is light, light brings joy, and joy is the joy of the spirit.” In conclusion, we want to add another of his quotes: “Architecture is the first plastic art; sculpture and painting need it. All its excellence comes from light. Architecture is the arrangement of light.”



(1) Garcés, Ferran (01/05/2023), “L’Estel dels Reis Mags,” on our blog: link


(2) Bellesguard Team (10/20/2023), “10th Anniversary: The Bellesguard Research Group,” on our blog: link