I braved two Gaudi sites yesterday, and it will take more than a couple of posts to share all the pictures. To be in Barcelona is to be surrounded by Gaudi, it seems – if not the buildings, then the souveneirs, all done in his style. I feel sorry for anyone who was trying to work during the same period, or since, for that matter, as they will always be eclipsed by the fanciful shapes that Gaudi created.
His style is incredibly unique, to the point that anything that has a bit of curve in it will probably always be considered some type of derivation. The only architect I can think of (with my sadly limited knowledge) who has played with curves in a way that feels fresh is Frank Gehry. And I would have to say with both of these men, having seen one building full of their moves sort of numbs your sense of awe to seeing more of it. I say this knowing that, while in Barcelona it would be nuts to miss seeing the inside of the Sagrada Familia, yet not quite up to the task after the thorough dousing of Gaudi yesterday!
I think what makes any art truly brave is a total commitment to the concept, dectractors be damned. And Gaudi managed this in spades. He loved his curves, his religious symbology, his fanciful shapes, and his mosaic surfaces. He was a huge student of nature, using those lessons to inform the structures of his buildings. He paid attention to the precious commodities of light and space, and interiors were just as important as exteriors.
He was very, very fortunate to have a patron in Guell, who paid for Gaudi to play. While I might be a bit oversaturated in it all today, I can honestly say I’m so grateful that a committee didn’t get the chance to dilute his visions. Those buildings rarely stand the test of time well enough to create a tourism industry.
Here are a few shots from Park Guell – just the major structures and such. I’ll cover some details of the mosaic work in the next post.
The outer ring of columns lean in:
I love how the nails are delineated in mosaic:
Fanciful, like gingerbread houses!
Heart shaped window whimsy: