Today we celebrate the 162nd Anniversary of the birth of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí . With this article we want to pay a tribute to this great genius of art, whose work broke new ground with its originality and, even to this day, inspires people from all backgrounds, worldwide…
Catalan born, 162 years ago, to a family of coppersmiths, a young Antoni Gaudí was involved, even at this time, in the craft tradition that make some of his architectural work so unique.
His childhood was marked by a rheumatic problem and, because of his illness, Gaudí had to miss school and, subsequently, spent long periods in the field, where he became a keen observer and lover of nature, shapes, colours and geometry.
During the Glorious Revolution, of 1868, he moved to Barcelona in order to realize one of his greatest dreams; to become an architect. Although he was never a great student, Gaudí showed enormous interest in philosophy, aesthetics, poetry, history and religion. While pursuing his studies, in architecture, Antoni worked with several renowned architects and engineers, such as Josep Fonserè and Joan Martorell, before tackling his first solo project; the Cooperative Mataronense.
From a young age, Gaudí was aware that his ideas, within art and architecture, were very different to anything that had been done in the past: his obsession and study of nature had led him to meet his geometric and constructive ambitions. Thus, Gaudí intended to continue the work of a creator, in order to help himself continue in this vain:
Originality consists in returning to the origin .
As mentioned before, his professional activity took place in Barcelona, a city that, at this time, was in full economic boom; due to the flourishing of the industry and the bourgeoisie, who became patrons of modernism in the late 19th century. In Catalonia, modernism was tinged with nationalist sentiments, namely the renaissance, which brought about the recovery of traditional Catalan and Gothic elements as hallmarks.
Gaudi’s works, inspired by animal or plant life forms, are characterized by organic shapes and use of materials such as stone, glass, ceramics and wrought iron; for Gaudí’s architecture was more than just discipline, it was an inclusive and symbolic art. In 1883, he received his largest commission: to continue with the works of the Sagrada Familia, a work which he combined with other projects until the day of his death. You can’t mention Gaudí without mentioning his huge religious connection to architecture, which inspired his work and life until June 7, 1926, the date on which he died in the hospital, putting an end to his lifetime of penance and voluntary poverty and leaving one of the greatest symbol of Barcelona unfinished, the Sagrada Familia. (Photo by Paul Audouard Deglaire).
In their work, you can identify two stages: a first and a second modernist historicism. The historicist phase, which began in 1883, was commissioned to proceed with the works of the Sagrada Familia, a project initiated by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar.
Gaudí's project for the Templo Expiatorio, funded by donations, was to be a large church with a Latin cross and high-rise towers, all awash in a great symbolic significance -both formally and sculptural. Since 1914, Gaudí moved his home and life to the Sagrada Familia, to devote himself exclusively to the construction of this temple until 1926, the year of his death. By this time, only the first spire and the nativity façade were complete.
(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7455207 @ N05/5491325900/in/set-72157600280979583)
His two works Bellesguard and Casa Calvet mark a change in the course of his work. From here, it’s more daring, more intimate and more modernist constructions occur. Within this modernist stage, was founded the Park Güell, great colour work that includes strength and aesthetic elements of free character.
The Casa Batlló, star of the picture, is inspired by nature and poetry. Its façade, vertically corrugated, coated glass fragments and ceramic colours. The pillars with floral elements are inspired by animal forms and suggest a delicate from.
Another of his great works we can also locate at this stage is the Casa Milá, commonly known as La Pedrera.
(Photo by Frank Kovalchek—Alaskan)