Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Catalan Master Of Art Nouveau

Antoni Gaudi was born in 1852 in Catalonia. He studied architecture in Barcelona and graduated in 1878. His genius could not be contained. A fascination for natural forms, color and a sweeping, dramatic vision of swirling and whipping art nouveau curves combined in his imagination to form some of what can only be described as visual events. He used mosaic tiles, glass, carved wood and stone to create soaring towers, columns built on turtles backs, balconies shaped like masks, rooms designed to appear underwater, and facades that seem to be undulating to an unheard, inner rhythm. He designed parks, churches and apartment buildings, almost all in Barcelona. It's worth a trip to Europe just to see his work.

Gaudi was struck by a tram and run over in 1926. Taken to the paupers' hospital, he went unrecognized until friends found him the next day. He refused to be moved to a better hospital and died three days later. He is buried within La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece he spent ten years designing and on which construction continues to this day. His magic lives on in his passionate, mysterious expressions of beauty.

The picture above is a mural painted on the ceiling at La Pedrera.

The picture below is a stairway in Casa Batllo, with matching ceramic urns in bronze stands. The smallest detail never escaped his attention.


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