Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus, Catalonia in 1852, but for a majority of his life he was based in Barcelona where he studied architecture in 1878 at the Provincial School of Architecture. (Biography 2019) Prior to this, he served in the military for three years. Unfortunately, at a young age he developed rheumatism, which is a disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints or even in a person’s muscles. (Biography 2019) However, Gaudi is said to have been a very ‘humble’ individual, who knew what he liked and understood how to bring the beauty of a drawing into a live piece of art. Most of his inspiration derived from neo-gothic styles, living in Catalonia, modernism, nature, and as a Catholic, God and Catholicism. “It is logical to presume that Catalan Gothic would have affected Gaudi's thinking because, along with the Romanesque, it forms the bulk of historical architecture in Catalonia, where Gaudi spent almost his entire life.” (Beddall) He was also inspired by mudejar art styles, which is actually an Islamic style of architecture that was heavily present in Spain during the Islamic rule over Spain from the seven hundreds (711 A.D) through the late fifteenth century (1492) of Spain; the reconquest of Granada. (Religions 2009) When looking at most of Gaudi’s artwork, there is a common color scheme that shows up; green, yellow, and red, which he used most often because of his love for nature and it effect of using earthly tones. “Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.”-Antoni Gaudi.
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Gaudi created numerous buildings, but I wanted to share three of his most architectural pieces. First, the Episcopal Palace of Astorga located in the central area of Castilla y Leon, secondly, the Park Guell located in Barcelona, but specifically, La Salut, Spain, and of course, the La Sagrada Familia, which is still being completed today; and is located in Barcelona. Gaudi was actually working on this building/ Cathedral. As discussed in class, Gaudi already knew that he would not finish the Sagrada Familia in his lifetime; I wish he lived to see the complete masterpiece.
The bishop of Astorga was Joan Baptista Grau i Vallespinós. He hired Gaudi to redesign the Episcopal Palace in 1887, which unfortunately burned down in the 19th century. (Tardif, Sara 2016) The building is oriented from southeast to the northeast with moat and railings in stone and iron. (Lover, Art Nouveau 2019)The body is bordered by four towers. (Lover, Art Nouveau 2019) There are four floors with an internal disposition in a Greek cross form: the cellar (in mudéjar style), ground floor, main floor, and the last floor, which is the attic. (Lover, Art Nouveau 2019) The windows are of gothic style and those of two of the towers display bishop Grau coat of arms. The gable roof is in a Greek cross form, and made of slate. (Lover, Art Nouveau 2019) “Outside, the porch with its three splayed arcs constitute one of the most spectacular architectonic elements of Gaudí.” (Lover, Art Nouveau 2019)
Industrialist and patron to Gaudi, Eusebi Güell, found the current location of the Park Guell in the mountainous part of Barcelona. (“Park Güell.”) In 1890, Güell put Gaudi in charge of building the Park Guell, “in which nature and an equal housing should form a symbiosis.” (“Park Güell.”) This was the largest project of Gaudí, aside from the Sagrada Familia. (“Park Güell.”) The park opened in 1922, with 60 villas in just two buildings, roads, and of course the park. “In 1929, the year of the second World Expo, the park was handed over to public. In 1963, the former residence of Gaudí was opened as a museum. In 1984, the park was included in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage.” (“Park Güell.”)
Another important message about Gaudi is that he always made it clear to spread Catholicism, and one way was through the structure of the lines in his work. He used lines to acknowledge the relation between God and man. (Collins) The straight lines were representative of man, but the curved lined was a representation of God. He believed that this was a symbol of fundamental divinity, which he showed by making sure to intersect one straight line over two sets of straight lines in his buildings. (Collins) “Originality is to return to the origin”. (Collins) As mentioned before, Gaudi always found a way to spread and share Catholicism through his work. He used the single straight line to represent the Holy Spirit, while one of the two lines in the set, represented God the Father, and the second line represented Jesus the Christ. (Collins) I may not be an architect myself, but as a fellow Christian, I must say that looking at Gaudi’s pieces, I can see his love for God in all his work, and it is truly beautiful. His work influenced the work of future architects such as Learning about the life of Gaudi, really touched my heart, but it truly uplifting me to know that a man so gifted and talented, chose to live a life that would eventually lead to an architectural legacy, and he did not allow his health to deter him from his purpose.
- Lover, Art Nouveau. “Astorga Episcopal Palace.” GaudiAllGaudi.com, 26 Oct. 2019, http://www.gaudiallgaudi.com/astorga-episcopal-palace/.
- “Park Güell.” The Parc Güell in Barcelona, Designed by Gaudí, https://www.barcelona.de/en/barcelona-parc-guell.html.
- “Religions - Islam: Muslim Spain (711-1492).” BBC, BBC, 4 Sept. 2009, https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/spain_1.shtml.
- “Antoni Gaudí.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 12 Sept. 2019, https://www.biography.com/artist/antoni-gaudi.
- Abend, Lisa. “Gaudi’s Great Temple.” TIME Magazine, vol. 194, no. 2, July 2019, pp. 30–39. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=137195887&site=ehost-live.
- Collins, George file:///C:/Users/fiagbetoa/Downloads/219072-Text%20de%20l'article-325666-1-10-20110606.pdf
- “Gaud.” Google Books, Google, https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=f90NukJl5cIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA31&dq=antoni+gaudi&ots=lVF-.
- Beddall, Thomas. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Mar.1975), pp.48-59 ww.jstor.org. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/988956.pdf.
- Tardiff, Sara. “See 7 of the World's Best Modernist Structures Designed by Antoni Gaudí.” Architectural Digest, Architectural Digest, 15 Aug. 2016, https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/architect-antoni-gaudis-most-influential-modernist-designs
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