Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (25 June185 – 10 June1926) was an architect from Catalonia, Spain who belonged to the Modernisme - Art Nouveau movement and was famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs.
Birth and childhood
Gaudí was born in the area of Tarragona, (south of Catalonia, Spain, in 1852. (While many believe his birthplace to be the town of Reus as official documents say, others claim it was in fact Riudoms, a small village 3 milles next to Reus.) It is certain that he was baptized in Reus a day after his birth. The artist's parents, Francesc Gaudí Serra and Antònia Cornet Bertran, both came from families of metal smiths. More...
Gaudí, as an architecture student at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona from 1873 to 1877, achieved only mediocre grades but did well in his "Trial drawings and projects" After five years of work, he was awarded the title of architect in 1878. As he signed Gaudí's title, Elies Rogent declared, "Qui sap si hem donat el diploma a un boig o a un geni: el temps ens ho dirà" ("Who knows if we have given this diploma to a nut or to a genius. Time will tell.")
1878–1879: Lampposts for the Plaça Reial at Barcelona;
1878: Showcase for glove manufacturer Comella. Via this work, used at the World's Fair in Paris, Eusebi Güell came to know the architect.
1878–1882: Several designs for the Obrera Mataronense at Mataró. Only a very small part of these plans was built, but it shows Gaudí's first use of parabolic arches, here in a wooden structure.
1883–1885: Casa Vicens;
1883–1885: Villa "El Capricho" at Comillas (Santander);
1884: Finca Güell: Entrance pavillion and stables for the palace at Pedralbes (first completed building for Eusebi Güell);
1884–1891: Completion of the crypt of the Sagrada Família
(the crypt had been started by the architect Francisco del Villar in 1882, who had to abandon the project in 1883);
1885–1889: Palau Güell;
1887–1893: Episcopal palace at Astorga;
1889–1894: Colegio Teresiano;
1891–1893: Outer walls of the absis of the Sagrada Família;
1892–1894: Casa de los Botines at León.
The Casa Mila - Barcelona
Gaudi was an ardent Catholic, to the point that in his later years, he abandoned secular work and devoted his life to Catholicism and his Sagrada Família. He designed it to have 18 towers, 12 for the 12 apostles, 4 for the 4 evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus. Soon after, his closest family and friends began to die. His works slowed to a halt, and his attitude changed. Perhaps one of his closest family members – his niece Rosa Egea – died in 1912, only to be followed by a "faithful collaborator, Francesc Berenguer Mestres" two years later. After both tragedies, Barcelona fell on hard times, economically. The construction of La Sagrada Família slowed; the construction of La Colonia Güell ceased altogether. Four years later, Eusebi Güell, his patron, died. More...
Gaudí's first works were designed in the style of gothic and traditional Spanish architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. But the student surpassed the master architect and contrived highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power.
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