Antoni Gaudi is one of the most famous and respected architects of the 20th century, known for his stylistic specificity and individualistic approach in designing his architectural works. His love for Catalonia, nature and religion were his main inspirations. He lived and worked in Barcelona, and the capital of Catalonia is the city where you can get acquainted with Gaudí’s work.
If anyone can be said to be a great patron of Barcelona, then it is without a doubt Anthony Gaudi. Most people know him as someone who built surreal buildings (and parks), while his private life is shrouded in mystery. That is why I have decided to give you this article in which you will find out some lesser known facts about the life and work of this Catalan master of architecture.
Often people thought of him as a beggar, which caused his death.
Young Gaudi was a man of style, always nicely dressed, with a carefully groomed hairstyle. Unfortunately, like most people, it has started to change over the years.
A series of difficult moments, from the death of loved ones to a difficult economic situation, directly influenced Gaudí to turn from a recognizable city face into a modest house bug that completely neglected its appearance and did not care about the wardrobe.
When he was hit by a tram during one of his daily walks, he was admitted to the hospital as a beggar. He did not receive adequate medical care there until tomorrow, when he was recognized by a young priest from the Sagrada Familia church, Gaudi’s most grandiose work.
However, it was already late then, the injuries were great and his condition significantly worsened. Three days later, Gaudi passed away, primarily because the doctors did not pay attention to him in time because they thought he was a beggar.
Fight for Catalonia
Men from Catalonia are known for their pride. Gaudi, a native of Catalonia, raised and educated in the spirit of the Catalan tradition, was a great fighter and advocate of Catalan culture and believed in the idea of Catalonia’s independence.
For those who are interested in history, it is interesting to note that Catalonia had its own identity (including an independent state, culture and language) in the 8th century.
The struggle for the independence of Catalonia flared up in the 17th century and, as we all know, is still relevant today. And Gaudi and his Catalan brothers took part in the protests, which often turned into real riots, so on one occasion he ended up in prison for a few days.
Guell Park was originally supposed to be a residential area.
The area where this beautiful park is located today was urbanized at the beginning of the 20th century. The original plan of Eusebius Guell, the patron of construction, was to build a settlement in the area of today’s park, based on the then very popular English urban gardens, which will have a lot of park space and agricultural land in addition to residential buildings. Gaudi was in charge of green areas.
However, only two residential houses were built, one of which was designed by Gaudi’s friend and assistant Francis Berenger, and then the mosaic master Antonio Gaudi took matters into his own hands and built a wonderful park, which is today one of the main attractions of Barcelona. Gaudi later lived in the house built by his assistant, in which he is today Gaudi Museum (Gaudi House).
Gaudi studied at the High School of Architecture in Barcelona, and was a poor student.
It is not a rare case that many successful people who owed humanity with their geniuses were bad at school and college. Gaudi is such an example. This is evidenced by the anecdote according to which Elias Rogent, the director of the High School at the graduation ceremony for Gaudí, allegedly stated: ” I give this diploma into the hands of either a fool or a genius.” Time will tell. ” And he was right, time gave its judgment.
The Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s posthumous success.
The construction of the Sagrada Familia church, Gaudí’s architectural masterpiece, began in 1882, and its completion is planned for 2027. That is a full 145 years!
Gaudi built the interior in the shape of a cross, with a facade decorated with biblical elements, the apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and Jesus Christ.
As construction progresses, a new element of the church is discovered each year. Everyone who has the privilege to visit this grandiose building filled with symbolism, colors, light and of course faith, fantasizes about the day when its construction will be completed and when the Sagrada Familia will finally shine with its full splendor.
Legend says the Salvador Dali loved, and Pablo Picasso hated Gaudí.
As a creator of surreal spaces that often associate visitors with the craziest imaginaries, Gaudi is highly valued all over the world today.
One of his greatest admirers was the master of surrealism Salvador Dali. These two Catalans definitely had a lot in common, above all they both completely ignored the traditional rules of realistic art. Dali constantly emphasized his admiration for Gaudí’s works, most of all the Sagrada Familia, which he said should be kept under a glass bell in order for its beauty to last forever.
Surrealists and cubists look at the world with different eyes than realists and traditionalists. That is a fact. However, based on it, it cannot be concluded that they have common views on art. Thus, for example, Pablo Picasso, one of the most prominent representatives of Cubism, had a completely opposite opinion of Gaudí and his work than Salvador Dali, a surrealist.
While Dali adored Gaudí, Picasso despised his works, especially the Sagrada Familia, which he openly pointed out in public.