The Marvel and Magnificence of Antoni Gaudi

November 21, 2009 § 3 Comments

A colleague recently returned from Barcelona, sharing with me his awe for Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. When I researched some imagery, I felt I was glimpsing a grand, new artistic treasure trove. It’s not new at all, of course – but it is grand. In all my European travels, with all its magnificent architecture, I never saw gems quite like these.

It could be because when in Spain at the tender age of 16, my strongest impressions were Seville, the Alhambra, the beaches of black sand and the lude men – the latter of which discouraged my desire to go back to Spain. But Antoni Gaudi has revived my appreciation.

Gaudi lived from 1852-1926, and is known as one of the most important modernist style architects worldwide. “Over the course of his career, Gaudi developed a sensuous, curving, almost surreal design style which established him as the innovative leader of the Spanish Art Nouveau movement. With little regard for formal order, he juxtaposed unrelated systems and altered established visual order. Gaudi’s characteristically warped form of Gothic architecture drew admiration from other avant-garde artists.”**

Gaudi takes “thinking outside the box” to whole new levels. His extraordinary works, many of which reside in Barcelona, are movement and dance; they’re delicious, sugar-lined monuments with creamy icing; they’re all marshmallows and gingerbread, sand-castles, stone, glass and iron; they’re original, artistic, striking blends of sharp color and duotones. They’re fantastic. They’re illogical. They’re stunning. I marvel at the ingenuity and the boundlessness.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p61.
Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. NA680.C625 1980.

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§ 3 Responses to The Marvel and Magnificence of Antoni Gaudi

  • Nanci Arvizu says:

    I love Barcelona. It’s been almost 10 years since my last visit, and I was able to visit the places you have pictured here.
    It’s hard to pick a “favorite” Gaudi place, but I believe the building that he created to resemble the human hand was the one that intrigued me the most. Especially because “the bones” were not immediately recognizable, you really had to look at it and as I did, and began to “see” the pieces, then it all fell into place, becoming so obvious – kind of like those 3-D pictures of the 90’s that you had to stare into until the objects inside the picture appeared.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
    Will the Church ever be completed?


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