|Birth Day:||June 25, 1852|
|Death Date:||Jun 10, 1926 (age 73)|
|Birth Place:||Reus, Spain|
As per our current Database, Antoni Gaudi died on Jun 10, 1926 (age 73).
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He worked as a draughtsman for various architects, during which time he was influenced by neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques. He was dubbed "God's Architect" for the religious images, based on his devout Roman Catholicism, that he incorporated into his work.
Antoni Gaudí was born on 25 June 1852 in Riudoms or Reus, to the coppersmith Francesc Gaudí i Serra (1813–1906) and Antònia Cornet i Bertran (1819–1876). He was the youngest of five children, of whom three survived to adulthood: Rosa (1844–1879), Francesc (1851–1876) and Antoni. Gaudí's family originated in the Auvergne region in southern France. One of his ancestors, Joan Gaudí, a hawker, moved to Catalonia in the 17th century; possible origins of Gaudí's family name include Gaudy or Gaudin.
Gaudí attended a nursery school run by Francesc Berenguer, whose son, also called Francesc, was later one of Gaudí's main assistants. He enrolled in the Piarists school in Reus where he displayed his artistic talents via drawings for a seminar called El Arlequín (the Harlequin). During this time he worked as an apprentice in the "Vapor Nou" textile mill in Reus. In 1868 he moved to Barcelona to study teaching in the Convent del Carme. In his adolescent years Gaudí became interested in utopian socialism and, together with his fellow students Eduard Toda i Güell and Josep Ribera i Sans, planned a restoration of the Poblet Monastery that would have transformed it into a Utopian phalanstère.
Between 1875 and 1878, Gaudí completed his compulsory military service in the infantry regiment in Barcelona as a Military Administrator. Most of his service was spent on sick leave, enabling him to continue his studies. His poor health kept him from having to fight in the Third Carlist War, which lasted from 1872 to 1876. In 1876 Gaudí's mother died at the age of 57, as did his 25-year-old brother Francesc, who had just graduated as a physician. During this time Gaudí studied architecture at the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture, graduating in 1878. To finance his studies, Gaudí worked as a draughtsman for various architects and constructors such as Leandre Serrallach, Joan Martorell, Emili Sala Cortés, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano and Josep Fontserè. In addition to his architecture classes, he studied French, history, economics, philosophy and aesthetics. His grades were average and he occasionally failed courses. When handing him his degree, Elies Rogent, director of Barcelona Architecture School, said: "We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will show." Gaudí, when receiving his degree, reportedly told his friend, the sculptor Llorenç Matamala, with his ironical sense of humour, "Llorenç, they're saying I'm an architect now."
Among Gaudí's largest and most striking works is the Casa Batlló (1904–1906). Commissioned by Josep Batlló i Casanovas to renovate an existing building erected in 1875 by Emili Sala Cortés, Gaudí focused on the façade, the main floor, the patio and the roof, and built a fifth floor for the staff. For this project he was assisted by his aides Domènec Sugrañes, Joan Rubió and Josep Canaleta. The facade is of Montjuïc sandstone cut to create warped ruled surfaces; the columns are bone-shaped with vegetable decoration. Gaudí kept the rectangular shape of the old building's balconies—with iron railings in the shape of masks—giving the rest of the facade an ascending undulating form. He also faced the facade with ceramic fragments of various colours ("trencadís"), which Gaudí obtained from the waste material of the Pelegrí glass works. The interior courtyard is roofed by a skylight supported by an iron structure in the shape of a double T, which rests on a series of catenary aches. The helicoidal chimneys are a notable feature of the roof, topped with conical caps, covered in clear glass in the centre and ceramics at the top, and surmounted by clear glass balls filled with sand of different colours. The facade culminates in catenary vaults covered with two layers of brick and faced with glazed ceramic tiles in the form of scales (in shades of yellow, green and blue), which resemble a dragon's back; on the left side is a cylindrical turret with anagrams of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and with Gaudí's four-armed cross.
Gaudí worked for Francisco de Paula del Villar on the apse of the Montserrat monastery, designing the niche for the image of the Black Virgin of Montserrat in 1876. He would later substitute Villar in the works of the Sagrada Família. With Leandre Serrallach, he worked on a tram line project to Villa Arcadia in Montjuïc. Eventually, he collaborated with Joan Martorell on the Jesuit church on Carrer Casp and the Salesian convent in Passeig de Sant Joan, as well as the Villaricos church (Almería). He also carried out a project for Martorell for the competition for a new facade for Barcelona cathedral, which was never accepted. His relationship with Martorell, whom he always considered one of his main and most influential masters, brought him unexpected luck; he later recommended Gaudí for the Sagrada Família.
After his graduation as an architect in 1878, Gaudí's first work was a set of lampposts for the Plaça Reial, the project for the Girossi newsstands and the Mataró cooperative, which was his first important work. He received the request from the city council of Barcelona in February 1878, when he had graduated but not yet received his degree, which was sent from Madrid on 15 March of the same year. For this commission he designed two types of lampposts: one with six arms, of which two were installed in the Plaça Reial, and another with three, of which two were installed in the Pla del Palau, opposite the Civil Government. The lampposts were inaugurated during the Mercè festivities in 1879. Made of cast iron with a marble base, they have a decoration in which the caduceus of Mercury is prominent, symbol of commerce and emblem of Barcelona.
In May 1878 Gaudí designed a display cabinet for the Esteban Comella glove factory, which was exhibited in the Spanish pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition that year. It was this work that attracted the attention of the entrepreneur Eusebi Güell, visiting the French capital; he was so impressed that he wanted to meet Gaudí on his return, beginning a long friendship and professional collaboration. Güell became Gaudí's main patron and sponsor of many of his large projects.
Also in 1878 he drew up the plans for a theatre in the former town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles (now a district of Barcelona); Gaudí did not take part in the construction of the theatre, which no longer exists. The following year he designed the furniture and counter for the Gibert Pharmacy, with marquetry of Arab influence. The same year he made five drawings for a procession in honour of the poet Francesc Vicent Garcia i Torres in Vallfogona de Riucorb, where this celebrated 17th-century writer and friend of Lope de Vega was the parish priest. Gaudí's project was centred on the poet and on several aspects of agricultural work, such as reaping and harvesting grapes and olives; however, as a result of organisational problems Gaudí's ideas were not carried out.
Gaudí had a deep appreciation for his native land and great pride in his Mediterranean heritage for his art. He believed Mediterranean people to be endowed with creativity, originality and an innate sense for art and design. Gaudí reportedly described this distinction by stating, "We own the image. Fantasy comes from the ghosts. Fantasy is what people in the North own. We are concrete. The image comes from the Mediterranean. Orestes knows his way, where Hamlet is torn apart by his doubts." Time spent outdoors, particularly during summer stays in the Gaudí family home Mas de la Calderera, afforded Gaudí the opportunity to study nature. Gaudí's enjoyment of the natural world led him to join the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya in 1879 at the age of 27. The organisation arranged expeditions to explore Catalonia and southern France, often riding on horseback or walking ten kilometres a day.
Between 1879 and 1881 he drew up a proposal for the decoration of the church of Sant Pacià, belonging to the Colegio de Jesús-María in Sant Andreu del Palomar: he created the altar in a Gothic style, the monstrance with Byzantine influence, the mosaics and the lighting, as well as the school's furniture. The church caught fire during the Tragic Week of 1909, and now only the mosaics remain, of "opus tesselatum", probably the work of the Italian mosaicist Luigi Pellerin. He was given the task of decorating the church of the Colegio de Jesús-María in Tarragona (1880–1882): he created the altar in white Italian marble, and its front part, or antependium, with four columns bearing medallions of polychrome alabaster, with figures of angels; the ostensory with gilt wood, the work of Eudald Puntí, decorated with rosaries, angels, tetramorph symbols and the dove of the Holy Ghost; and the choir stalls, which were destroyed in 1936.
In 1880 he designed an electric lighting project for Barcelona's Muralla de Mar, or seawall, which was not carried out. It consisted of eight large iron streetlamps, profusely decorated with plant motifs, friezes, shields and names of battles and Catalan admirals. The same year he participated in the competition for the construction of the San Sebastián social centre (now town hall), won by Luis Aladrén Mendivi and Adolfo Morales de los Ríos; Gaudí submitted a project that synthesised several of his earlier studies, such as the fountain for the Plaça Catalunya and the courtyard of the Provincial Council.
A new task of the Güell-López's for Comillas was the gazebo for Alfonso XII's visit to the Cantabrian town in 1881. Gaudí designed a small pavilion in the shape of a Hindu turban, covered in mosaics and decorated with an abundance of small bells which jingled constantly. It was subsequently moved into the Güell Pavilions.
In 1882 he designed a Benedictine monastery and a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit in Villaricos (Cuevas de Vera, Almería) for his former teacher, Joan Martorell. It was of neo-Gothic design, similar to the Convent of the Salesians that Gaudí also planned with Martorell. Ultimately it was not carried out, and the project plans were destroyed in the looting of the Sagrada Família in 1936. The same year he was tasked with constructing a hunting lodge and wine cellars at a country residence known as La Cuadra, in Garraf (Sitges), property of baron Eusebi Güell. Ultimately the wine cellars, but not the lodge, were built some years later. With Martorell he also collaborated on three other projects: the church of the Jesuit School in Carrer Caspe; the Convent of the Salesians in Passeig de Sant Joan, a neo-Gothic project with an altar in the centre of the crossing; and the facade project for Barcelona cathedral, for the competition convened by the cathedral chapter in 1882, ultimately won by Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font i Carreras.
Gaudí's collaboration with Martorell was a determining factor in Gaudí's recommendation for the Sagrada Família. The church was the idea of Josep Maria Bocabella, founder of the Devotees of Saint Joseph Association, which acquired a complete block of Barcelona's Eixample district. The project was originally entrusted to Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, who planned the construction of a neo-Gothic church, on which work began in 1882. However, the following year Villar resigned due to disagreements with the construction board, and the task went to Gaudí, who completely redesigned the project, apart from the part of the crypt that had already been built. Gaudí devoted the rest of his life to the construction of the church, which was to be the synthesis of all of his architectural discoveries.
In 1883 Gaudí was put in charge of the recently initiated project to build a Barcelona church called Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, or Sagrada Família). Gaudí completely changed the initial design and imbued it with his own distinctive style. From 1915 until his death he devoted himself entirely to this project. Given the number of commissions he began receiving, he had to rely on his team to work on multiple projects simultaneously. His team consisted of professionals from all fields of construction. Several of the architects who worked under him became prominent in the field later on, such as Josep Maria Jujol, Joan Rubió, Cèsar Martinell, Francesc Folguera and Josep Francesc Ràfols. In 1885, Gaudí moved to rural Sant Feliu de Codines to escape the cholera epidemic that was ravaging Barcelona. He lived in Francesc Ullar's house, for whom he designed a dinner table as a sign of his gratitude.
Between 1883 and 1888 he constructed the Casa Vicens, commissioned by stockbroker Manuel Vicens i Montaner. It was constructed with four floors, with facades on three sides and an extensive garden, including a monumental brick fountain. The house was surrounded by a wall with iron gates, decorated with palmetto leaves, work of Llorenç Matamala. The walls of the house are of stone alternated with lines of tile, which imitate yellow flowers typical of this area; the house is topped with chimneys and turrets. In the interior the polychrome wooden roof beams stand out, adorned with floral themes of papier maché; the walls are decorated with vegetable motifs, as well as paintings by Josep Torrescasana; finally, the floor consists of Roman-style mosaics of "opus tesselatum". Among the most original rooms is the smoking room, notable the ceiling, decorated with Moorish honeycomb-work, reminiscent of the Generalife in the Alhambra in Granada.
In 1885 Gaudí accepted a commission from Josep Maria Bocabella, promoter of the Sagrada Família, for an altar in the oratory of the Bocabella family, who had obtained permission from the Pope to have an altar in their home. The altar is made of varnished mahogany, with a slab of white marble in the centre for relics. It is decorated with plants and religious motifs, such as the Greek letters alpha and omega, symbol of the beginning and end, gospel phrases and images of Saint Francis of Paola, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Holy Family and closed with a curtain of crimson embroidery. It was made by the cabinet maker Frederic Labòria, who also collaborated with Gaudí on the Sagrada Família.
The 1888 World Fair was one of the era's major events in Barcelona and represented a key point in the history of the Modernisme movement. Leading architects displayed their best works, including Gaudí, who showcased the building he had designed for the Compañía Trasatlántica (Transatlantic Company). Consequently, he received a commission to restructure the Saló de Cent of the Barcelona City Council, but this project was ultimately not carried out. In the early 1890s Gaudí received two commissions from outside of Catalonia, namely the Episcopal Palace, Astorga, and the Casa Botines in León. These works contributed to Gaudí's growing renown across Spain. In 1891, he travelled to Málaga and Tangiers to examine the site for a project for the Franciscan Catholic Missions that the 2nd marquis of Comillas had requested him to design.
On the occasion of the World Expo held in Barcelona in 1888, Gaudí constructed the pavilion for the Compañía Trasatlántica, property of the Marquis of Comillas, in the Maritime Section of the event. He created it in a Granadinian Nazari style, with horseshoe arches and stucco decoration; the building survived until the Passeig Marítim was opened up in 1960. In the wake of the event he received a commission from Barcelona Council to restore the Saló de Cent and the grand stairs in Barcelona City Hall, as well as a chair for the queen Maria Cristina; only the chair was made, and Mayor Francesc Rius i Taulet presented it to the Queen.
The final project for his great patron Eusebi Güell was the church for the Colònia Güell, an industrial village in Santa Coloma de Cervelló (1890–1918). The project began in 1890, and the factory, service buildings and housing for the workers were constructed. What would have been the colony's church was designed by Gaudí in 1898, though the first stone was not laid until 4 October 1908. Unfortunately only the crypt (known today as Crypt of the Colònia Güell) was built, as Güell's sons abandoned the project after his death in 1918. Gaudí designed an oval church with five aisles, one central aisle and two at either side. He conceived it as fully integrated into nature. A porch of hyperbolic paraboloid vaults precedes the crypt, the first time that Gaudí used this structure and notably the first use of paraboloid vaults in the history of architecture. In the crypt the large hyperboloid stained glass windows stand out, with the shapes of flower petals and butterfly wings. Inside, circular brick pillars alternate with slanted basalt columns from Castellfollit de la Roca.
In 1892 Gaudí was commissioned by Claudio López Bru, second Marquis of Comillas, with the Franciscana Catholic Missions for the city of Tangier, in Morocco (at the time a Spanish colony). The project included a church, hospital and school, and Gaudí conceived a quadrilobulate ground-plan floor structure, with catenary arches, parabolic towers, and hyperboloid windows. Gaudí deeply regretted the project's eventual demise, always keeping his design with him. In spite of this, the project influenced the works of the Sagrada Família, in particular the design of the towers, with their paraboloid shape like those of the Missions.
Gaudí received his next commission from a clergyman who had been a boyhood friend in his native Reus. When he was appointed bishop of Astorga, Joan Baptista Grau i Vallespinós asked Gaudí to design a new episcopal palace for the city, as the previous building had caught fire. Constructed between 1889 and 1915, in a neo-Gothic style with four cylindrical towers, it was surrounded by a moat. The stone with which it was built (grey granite from the El Bierzo area) is in harmony with its surroundings, particularly with the cathedral in its immediate vicinity, as well as with the natural landscape, which in late 19th-century Astorga was more visible than today. The porch has three large flared arches, built of ashlar and separated by sloping buttresses. The structure is supported by columns with decorated capitals and by ribbed vaults on pointed arches, and topped with Mudejar-style merlons. Gaudí resigned from the project in 1893, at the death of Bishop Grau, due to disagreements with the Chapter, and it was finished in 1915 by Ricardo García Guereta. It currently houses a museum about the Way of Saint James, which passes through Astorga.
Young Gaudí suffered from poor health, including rheumatism, which may have contributed to his reticent and reserved character. These health concerns and the hygienist theories of Dr. Kneipp contributed to Gaudí's decision to adopt vegetarianism early in his life. His religious faith and strict vegetarianism led him to undertake several lengthy and severe fasts. These fasts were often unhealthy and occasionally, as in 1894, led to life-threatening illness.
In 1895 he designed a funerary chapel for the Güell family at the abbey of Montserrat, but little is known about this work, which was never built. That year, construction finally began on the Bodegas Güell, the 1882 project for a hunting lodge and some wineries at La Cuadra de Garraf (Sitges), property of Eusebi Güell. Constructed between 1895 and 1897 under the direction of Francesc Berenguer, Gaudí's aide, the wineries have a triangular end facade, a very steep stone roof, a group of chimneys and two bridges that join them to an older building. It has three floors: the bottom one for a garage, an apartment and a chapel with catenary arches, with the altar in the centre. It was completed with a porter's lodge, notable for the iron gate in the shape of a fishing net.
In 1899 Gaudí joined the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc (Saint Luke artistic circle), a Catholic artistic society founded in 1893 by the bishop Josep Torras i Bages and the brothers Josep and Joan Llimona. He also joined the Lliga Espiritual de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat (spiritual league of Our lady of Montserrat), another Catholic Catalan organisation. The conservative and religious character of his political thought was closely linked to his defence of the cultural identity of the Catalan people.
At the beginning of the century, Gaudí was working on numerous projects simultaneously. They reflected his shift to a more personal style inspired by nature. In 1900, he received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council for his Casa Calvet. During the first decade of the century Gaudí dedicated himself to projects like the Casa Figueras (Figueras house, better known as Bellesguard), the Park Güell, an unsuccessful urbanisation project, and the restoration of the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, for which he visited Majorca several times. Between 1904 and 1910 he constructed the Casa Batlló (Batlló house) and the Casa Milà (Milá house), two of his most emblematic works.
Commissioned by the company Hijos de Pedro Mártir Calvet, Gaudí built the Casa Calvet (1898–1899), in Barcelona's Carrer Casp. The facade is built of Montjuïc stone, adorned with wrought iron balconies and topped with two pediments with wrought iron crosses. Another notable feature of the facade is the gallery on the main floor, decorated with plant and mythological motifs. For this project, Gaudí used a Baroque style, visible in the use of Solomonic columns, decoration with floral themes and the design of the terraced roof . In 1900, he won the award for the best building of the year from Barcelona City Council.
A virtually unknown work by Gaudí is the Casa Clapés (1899–1900), at 125 Carrer Escorial, commissioned by the painter Aleix Clapés, who collaborated on occasion with Gaudí, such as in decorating the Palau Güell and the Casa Milà. It has a ground floor and three apartments, with stuccoed walls and cast-iron balconies. Due to its lack of decoration or original structural solutions its authorship was unknown until 1976, when the architect's signed plans by Gaudí were discovered. In 1900, he renovated the house of Dr. Pere Santaló, at 32 Carrer Nou de la Rambla, a work of equally low importance. Santaló was a friend of Gaudí's, whom he accompanied during his stay in Puigcerdà in 1911.It was he who recommended him to do manual work for his rheumatism.
Also in 1900, he designed two banners: for the Orfeó Feliuà (of Sant Feliu de Codines), made of brass, leather, cork and silk, with ornamental motifs based on the martyrdom of San Félix (a millstone), music (a staff and clef) and the inscription "Orfeó Feliuà"; and Our Lady of Mercy of Reus, for the pilgrimage of the Reus residents of Barcelona, with an image of Isabel Besora, the shepherdess to whom the Virgin appeared in 1592, work of Aleix Clapés and, on the back, a rose and the Catalan flag. In the same year, for the shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Reus, Gaudí outlined a project for the renovation of the church's main facade, which ultimately was not undertaken, as the board considered it too expensive. Gaudí took this rejection quite badly, leaving some bitterness towards Reus, possibly the source of his subsequent claim that Riudoms was his place of birth. Between 1900 and 1902 Gaudí worked on the Casa Miralles, commissioned by the industrialist Hermenegild Miralles i Anglès; Gaudí designed only the wall near the gateway, of undulating masonry, with an iron gate topped with the four-armed cross. Subsequently, the house for Señor Miralles was designed by Domènec Sugrañes, associate architect of Gaudí.
In 1901 Gaudí decorated the house of Isabel Güell López, Marchioness of Castelldosrius, and daughter of Eusebi Güell. Situated at 19 Carrer Junta de Comerç, the house had been built in 1885 and renovated between 1901 and 1904; it was destroyed by a bomb during the Civil War. The following year Gaudí took part in the decoration of the Bar Torino, property of Flaminio Mezzalana, located at 18 Passeig de Gràcia; Gaudí designed the ornamentation of el Salón Árabe of that establishment, made with varnished Arabian-style cardboard tiles (which no longer exist).
As a result of Gaudí's increasing fame, in 1902 the painter Joan Llimona chose Gaudí's features to represent Saint Philip Neri in the paintings for the aisle of the Sant Felip Neri church in Barcelona. Together with Joan Santaló, son of his friend the physician Pere Santaló, he unsuccessfully founded a wrought iron manufacturing company the same year.
In 1904, commissioned by the painter Lluís Graner, he designed the decoration of the Sala Mercè, in the Rambla dels Estudis, one of the first cinemas in Barcelona; the theatre imitated a cave, inspired by the Coves del Drac (Dragon's Caves) in Mallorca. Also for Graner he designed a detached house in the Bonanova district of Barcelona, of which only the foundations and the main gate were built, with three openings: for people, vehicles and birds; the building would have had a structure similar to the Casa Batlló or the porter's lodge of the Park Güell.
Also in 1904 he built the Chalet de Catllaràs, in La Pobla de Lillet, for the Asland cement factory, owned by Eusebi Güell. It has a simple structure though very original, in the shape of a pointed arch, with two semi-circular flights of stairs leading to the top two floors. This building fell into ruin when the cement works closed, and when it was eventually restored its appearance was radically altered, the ingenious original staircase being replaced with a simpler metal one. In the same area he created the Can Artigas Gardens between 1905 and 1907, in an area called Font de la Magnesia, commissioned by the textile merchant Joan Artigas i Alart; men who had worked the Park Güell were also involved on this project, similar to the famous park in Barcelona.
After moving to Barcelona, Gaudí frequently changed his address: as a student he lived in residences, generally in the area of the Gothic Quarter; when he started his career he moved around several rented flats in the Eixample area. Finally, in 1906, he settled in a house in the Güell Park that he owned and which had been constructed by his assistant Francesc Berenguer as a showcase property for the estate. It has since been transformed into the Gaudí Museum. There he lived with his father (who died in 1906 at the age of 93) and his niece Rosa Egea Gaudí (who died in 1912 at the age of 36). He lived in the house until 1925, several months before his death, when he began residing inside the workshop of the Sagrada Família.
In 1906 he designed a bridge over the Torrent de Pomeret, between Sarrià and Sant Gervasi. This river flowed directly between two of Gaudí's works, Bellesguard and the Chalet Graner, and so he was asked to bridge the divide. Gaudí designed an interesting structure composed of juxtaposed triangles that would support the bridge's framework, following the style of the viaducts that he made for the Park Güell. It would have been built with cement, and would have had a length of 154 metres (505 ft) and a height of 15 metres (49 ft); the balustrade would have been covered with glazed tiles, with an inscription dedicated to Santa Eulàlia. The project was not approved by the Town Council of Sarrià.
In 1907, to mark the seventh centenary of the birth of King James I, Gaudí designed a monument in his memory. It would have been situated in the Plaça del Rei, and would have also meant the renovation of the adjacent buildings: new roof for the cathedral, as well as the completion of its towers and cupola; placement of three vases above the buttresses of the Chapel of Santa Àgada, dedicated to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the figure of an angel on top of the chapel's tower; finally, the opening of a large square next to the walls (now the Plaça Ramon Berenguer el Grand). The project was not executed because the city council disliked it.
In 1908 Gaudí devised a project for a skyscraper hotel in New York City, the Hotel Attraction, commissioned by two American entrepreneurs whose names are unknown. It would have been 360 metres (1,180 ft) high (taller than the Empire State Building), with a taller parabolic central section, topped with a star, and flanked by four volumes containing museums, art galleries and concert halls, with shapes similar to the Casa Milà. Inside it would have had five large rooms, one dedicated to every continent.
An event that had a profound impact on Gaudí's personality was Tragic Week in 1909. Gaudí remained in his house in Güell Park during this turbulent period. The anticlerical atmosphere and attacks on churches and convents caused Gaudí to worry for the safety of the Sagrada Família, but the building escaped damage.
Another of Gaudí's major projects and among his most admired works is the Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera (1906–1910), commissioned by Pere Milà i Camps. Gaudí designed the house around two large, curved courtyards, with a structure of stone, brick and cast-iron columns and steel beams. The facade is built of limestone from Vilafranca del Penedès, apart from the upper level, which is covered in white tiles, evoking a snowy mountain. It has a total of five floors, plus a loft made entirely of catenary arches, as well as two large interior courtyards, one circular and one oval. Notable features are the staircases to the roof, topped with the four-armed cross, and the chimneys, covered in ceramics and with shapes that suggest mediaeval helmets. The interior decoration was carried out by Josep Maria Jujol and the painters Iu Pascual, Xavier Nogués and Aleix Clapés. The facade was to have been completed with a stone, metal and glass sculpture with Our lady of the Rosary accompanied by the archangels Michael and Gabriel, 4 m in height. A sketch was made by the sculptor Carles Mani, but due to the events of the Tragic Week in 1909 the project was abandoned.
The first example of his final stage can be seen in a simple but very ingenious building, the Sagrada Família schools, a small school for the workers' children. Built in 1909, it has a rectangular ground plan of 10 by 20 metres (33 ft × 66 ft), and contained three classrooms, a vestibule and a chapel. It was built of exposed brick, in three overlapping layers, following the traditional Catalan method. The walls and roof have an undulating shape, giving the structure a sense of lightness but also strength. The Sagrada Família schools have set an example of constructive genius and have served as a source of inspiration for many architects, such is their simplicity, strength, originality, functionality and geometric excellence.
In 1910, an exhibition in the Grand Palais of Paris was devoted to his work, during the annual salon of the Société des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Society) of France. Gaudí participated on the invitation of count Güell, displaying a series of pictures, plans and plaster scale models of several of his works. Although he participated hors concours, he received good reviews from the French press. A large part of this exposition could be seen the following year at the I Salón Nacional de Arquitectura that took place in the municipal exhibition hall of El Buen Retiro in Madrid.
During the Paris exposition in May 1910, Gaudí spent a holiday in Vic, where he designed two basalt lampposts and wrought iron for the Plaça Major of Vic in honor of Jaume Balmes's centenary. The following year he resided as a convalescent in Puigcerdà while suffering from tuberculosis. During this time he conceived the idea for the facade of the Passion of the Sagrada Família. Due to ill health he prepared a will at the office of the notary Ramon Cantó i Figueres on 9 June, but later completely recovered.
In May 1910 Gaudí paid a short visit to Vic, where he was tasked to design the lampposts for the city's Plaça Major, in commemoration of the first centenary of the birth of Jaume Balmes. They were obelisk-shaped lamps, with basalt rock bases from Castellfollit de la Roca and wrought iron arms, topped with the four-armed cross; they were decorated with vegetable themes and included the birth and death dates of Balmes. They were demolished in 1924 due to poor maintenance.
The decade from 1910 was a hard one for Gaudí. During this decade, the architect experienced the deaths of his niece Rosa in 1912 and his main collaborator Francesc Berenguer in 1914; a severe economic crisis which paralysed work on the Sagrada Família in 1915; the 1916 death of his friend Josep Torras i Bages, bishop of Vic; the 1917 disruption of work at the Colonia Güell; and the 1918 death of his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. Perhaps because of these tragedies he devoted himself entirely to the Sagrada Família from 1915, taking refuge in his work. Gaudí confessed to his collaborators:
In 1912 he built two pulpits for the church of Santa Maria in Blanes: the pulpit on the Gospel side had a hexagonal base, decorated with the dove of the Holy Spirit and the names in Latin of the four evangelists and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the pulpit of the Epistle side had the names of the apostles who wrote epistles (Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Judas Thadeus and Saint James the Great), with the three theological virtues and the flames of Pentecost. These pulpits were burned in July 1936.
A project of great interest to Gaudí was the restoration of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma de Mallorca (1903–1914), commissioned by the city's bishop, Pere Campins i Barceló. Gaudí planned a series of works including removing the baroque altarpiece, revealing the bishop's throne, moving the choir-stalls from the centre of the nave and placing them in the presbytery, clearing the way through chapel of the Holy Trinity, placing new pulpits, fitting the cathedral with electrical lighting, uncovering the Gothic windows of the Royal Chapel and filling them with stained glass, placing a large canopy above the main altar and completing the decoration with paintings. This was coordinated by Joan Rubió i Bellver, Gaudí's assistant. Josep Maria Jujol and the painters Joaquín Torres García, Iu Pascual and Jaume Llongueras were also involved. Gaudí abandoned the project in 1914 due to disagreements with the Cathedral chapter.
From 1915 Gaudí devoted himself almost exclusively to his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família, a synthesis of his architectural evolution. After completion of the crypt and the apse, still in Gothic style, the rest of the church is conceived in an organic style, imitating natural shapes with their abundance of ruled surfaces. He intended the interior to resemble a forest, with inclined columns like branching trees, helicoidal in form, creating a simple but sturdy structure. Gaudí applied all of his previous experimental findings in this project, from works such as the Park Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell, creating a church that is at once structurally perfect, harmonious and aesthetically satisfying.
Gaudí dedicated the last years of his life entirely to the "Cathedral of the Poor", as it was commonly known, for which he took alms in order to continue. Apart from his dedication to this cause, he participated in few other activities, the majority of which were related to his Catholic faith: in 1916 he participated in a course about Gregorian chant at the Palau de la Música Catalana taught by the Benedictine monk Gregori M. Sunyol.
During the last years of his life, apart from his devotion to the Sagrada Família, Gaudí participated only in minor projects, which were not completed: in 1916, on the death of his friend bishop Josep Torras i Bages, he designed a monument in his honour, which he wanted to place in front of the Passion facade of the Sagrada Família. He made a sketch of the project, which ultimately was not carried out, and made a plaster bust of the bishop, the work of Joan Matamala under the instruction of Gaudí. It was put in the Sagrada Família, where it would have formed part of the church, but it was destroyed in 1936. Another commemorative monument project, also not carried out, was dedicated to Enric Prat de la Riba, which would have been situated in Castellterçol, birthplace of this Catalan politician. The project dates from 1918, and would have consisted of a tall tower with two porticos and a spire topped with an iron structure flying the Catalan flag. The sketch of the project was done by Lluís Bonet i Garí, Gaudí's assistant.
Gaudí carried out a second commission from Eusebi Güell between 1884 and 1887, the Güell Pavilions in Pedralbes, now on the outskirts of Barcelona. Güell had a country residence in Les Corts de Sarrià, consisting of two adjacent properties known as Can Feliu and Can Cuyàs de la Riera. The architect Joan Martorell had built a Caribbean-style mansion, which was demolished in 1919 to make way for the Royal Palace of Pedralbes. Gaudí undertook to refurbish the house and construct a wall and porter's lodge. He completed the stone wall with several entrances, the main entrance with an iron gate in the shape of a dragon, with symbology allusive to the myths of Hercules and the Garden of the Hesperides. The buildings consist of a stable, covered longeing ring and porter's lodge: the stable has a rectangular base and catenary arches; the longeing ring has a square base with a hyperboloid dome; the porter's lodge consists of three small buildings, the central one being polygonal with a hyperbolic dome, and the other two smaller and cubic. All three are topped by ventilators in the shape of chimneys faced with ceramics. The walls are of exposed brick in various shades of reds and yellows; in certain sections prefabricated cement blocks are also used. The Pavilions are now the headquarters of the Real Cátedra Gaudí, of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
Gaudí was always in favour of Catalan culture but was reluctant to become politically active to campaign for its autonomy. Politicians, such as Francesc Cambó and Enric Prat de la Riba, suggested that he run for deputy but he refused. In 1920 he was beaten by police in a riot during the Floral Games celebrations. On 11 September 1924, National Day of Catalonia, he was beaten at a demonstration against the banning of the Catalan language by the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. Gaudí was arrested by the Civil Guard, resulting in a short stay in prison, from which he was freed after paying 50 pesetas bail.
In 1922 Gaudí was commissioned, by the Franciscan Padre Angélico Aranda, to construct a church dedicated to the Assumption in the Chilean city of Rancagua. Gaudí apologised and said that he was occupied exclusively with the Sagrada Família, but sent some sketches of the Assumption chapel which he had designed for the apse of the Sagrada Família, which more or less coincided with what Padre Aranda had asked for. Unfortunately this project was not carried out, though there are currently plans by the Chilean architect Christian Matzner to take up the project. The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, has announced that building will begin in 2015, with an expected completion in 2017 and at a cost of $7 million. Once completed it will become the first of Gaudí's works to be constructed in the Americas.
On 7 June 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk to the Sant Felip Neri church for his habitual prayer and confession. While walking along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes between Girona and Bailén streets, he was struck by a passing number 30 tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually some passers-by transported him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received rudimentary care.
By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Mosén Gil Parés, recognised him on the following day, Gaudí's condition had deteriorated too severely to benefit from additional treatment. Gaudí died on 10 June 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later. A large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família. His gravestone bears this inscription:
Gaudí was run down by a streetcar, and died in 1926. He is buried in the Sagrada Familia. After his death, Gaudí's works suffered a period of neglect and were largely unpopular among international critics, who regarded them as baroque and excessively imaginative. In his homeland he was equally disdained by Noucentisme, the new movement which took the place of Modernisme. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Gaudí's workshop in the Sagrada Família was ransacked, and a great number of his documents, plans and scale models were destroyed.
In 1936, during the course of the Spanish Civil War, Gaudí's workshop in the Sagrada Familia was assaulted, destroying a large number of documents, plans and models of the modernist architect.
The same year Gaudí apparently took part in the construction of the Torre Damià Mateu, in Llinars del Vallès [es], in collaboration with his disciple Francesc Berenguer, though the project's authorship is not clear or to what extent they each contributed to it. The style of the building evokes Gaudí's early work, such as the Casa Vicens or the Güell Pavilions; it had an entrance gate in the shape of a fishing net, currently installed in the Park Güell. The building was demolished in 1939. Also in 1906 he designed a new banner, this time for the Guild of metalworkers and blacksmiths for the Corpus Christi procession of 1910, in Barcelona Cathedral. It was dark green in colour, with Barcelona's coat of arms in the upper left corner, and an image of Saint Eligius, patron of the guild, with typical tools of the trade. The banner was burned in July 1936.
Between 1950 and 1960, research and writings by international critics like George R. Collins, Nikolaus Pevsner and Roberto Pane spread a renewed awareness of Gaudí's work, while in his homeland it was admired and promoted by Alexandre Cirici, Juan Eduardo Cirlot and Oriol Bohigas. Gaudí's work has since gained widespread international appreciation, such as in Japan where notable studies have been published by Dr. Hiroya Tanaka (Gaudi Prize winner), Kenji Imai and Tokutoshi Torii. International recognition of Gaudí's contributions to the field of architecture and design culminated in the 1984 listing of Gaudí's key works as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Gaudí's style have subsequently influenced contemporary architects such as Santiago Calatrava and Norman Foster.
Gaudí's reputation was beginning to recover by the 1950s, when his work was championed not only by Salvador Dalí but also by architect Josep Lluís Sert. In 1952, the centenary year of the architect's birth, the Asociación de Amigos de Gaudí (Friends of Gaudí Association) was founded with the aim of disseminating and conserving his legacy. Four years later, a retrospective was organised at the Saló del Tinell in Barcelona, and the Gaudí Chair at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia was created with the purpose of deepening the study of Gaudí's works and participating in their conservation. These events were followed in 1957 by Gaudí's first international exhibition, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1976, on the 50th anniversary of his death, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised an exhibition about Gaudí and his works that toured the globe.
Several of Gaudí's works have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO: in 1984 the Park Güell, the Palau Güell and the Casa Milà; and in 2005 the Nativity facade, the crypt and the apse of the Sagrada Família, the Casa Vicens and the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, together with the crypt of the Colònia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
During Gaudí's life only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. Upon his death his assistant Domènec Sugrañes took over the construction; thereafter it was directed by various architects. Jordi Bonet i Armengol assumed responsibility in 1987 and continued as of 2011. Artists such as Llorenç and Joan Matamala, Carles Mani, Jaume Busquets, Joaquim Ros i Bofarull, Etsuro Sotoo and Josep Maria Subirachs (creator of the Passion facade) have worked on the sculptural decoration. Completion is not expected until at least 2026.
Due to Gaudí's profoundly religious and ascetic lifestyle, the archbishop of Barcelona, Ricard Maria Carles proposed Gaudí's beatification in 1998. In 1999, American composer Christopher Rouse wrote the guitar concerto Concert de Gaudí, which was inspired by Gaudí's work; it went on to win the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Gaudí's birth, a number of official ceremonies, concerts, shows and conferences were held, and several books were published. On 24 September of the same year, the musical Gaudí had its premiere in the Palau dels Esports de Barcelona. The authors of the piece were Jordi Galceran, Esteve Miralles and Albert Guinovart. In 2008 the Gaudí Awards were launched in his honour, organised by the Catalan Film Academy to award the best Catalan films of the year. An Iberia Airbus A340-642, EC-INO is named after Gaudí.
Currently, Antoni Gaudi is 170 years, 5 months and 5 days old. Antoni Gaudi will celebrate 171st birthday on a Sunday 25th of June 2023.
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