Antoni Gaudí

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Biography

             Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí Cornet is possibly the most famous architect of Spain. The famous architect graced Spain with his presence on June 25th 1852. He was born in Tarragona in Cataluña Spain. From the time Gaudí was a child he suffered from rheumatic problems. This caused him to be isolated from other kids and he was required to ride around on a donkey to get from place to place because the pain from walking was so terribly unbearable.  The disease stayed with him for life but was managed throughout the years.  During his schooling he developed an interest in religion. During his schooling he also began developing his artistic skills, working on designing scenes for the school theater.

          In 1868 Gaudí moved to Barcelona to enter into University and study architecture. He entered into la “Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura”.  Gaudí was inspired by many movements, artists and architects. He gained a lot of inspiration from medieval books and gothic art, in oriental structures, and from the organic shapes found in nature. With the arrival of Art Nouveau, straight lines disappeared but Gaudí was not too quick to follow this style and instead developed a style of his own.

         Gaudí was characteristically known as having a bad temper and he even said himself that his bad temper was one thing he was never able to control in his life. His bad temper aside, Gaudí was able to become involved in social issues and the problems of over-worked workers.

          In the turn of the century Barcelona was flourishing and the wealthy classes enjoyed surrounded themselves with artists and intellectuals. The young artist prospered in this environment because there were many patrons willing to support his endeavors. In 1878 at the Paris World Fair Gaudí presented his Project, "Mataró Cooperative" which was an attempt to improve the quality of life for workers. The Project did not succeed but here began his success.

          Eventually Gaudí arrived to work on undoubtedly  his most famous piece “La Sagrada Familia” in 1883. He continued working hard and his next projects were the Palau Güell and the Palacio de Astorga. While working in Barcelona he as asked to build a house on the central square in Leon which was named la "Casa de los Botines." While persevering through these projects he built yet another building called the “Transatlantic Pavillion” for the Barcelona World Fair in 1888. It was there he received one of his many religious projects, the “School of Theresians.”  In 1898 work began on the the church of the Colonia Güell. During these year he carried out many more small and large projects. He also began to work on the “Park Güell” where, inspired by nature, he built a series of homes that repected the natural layout of the land.  Gaudí arrived at another of his most famous pieces in 1904 when he was asked to reform a house for Josep Batlló on a popular boulevard in Barcelona.  The architect suprised everyone with the unique style in which the house was renovated. The house’s balconies seemed to flow and move and a large cross adorned the front of the building. The house was named “La Pedrera” and was commended by Pere Milá a member of the Spanish parliament. He finished the masterpiece in 1910.

           In was after “La Pedrera” that Gaudí gained his greatest fame internationally. In 1911 Gaudí caught Maltese fever and as his condition continued to worsen he decided to write out his will. To the day of his death, he worked exclusively on the Sagrada Família, and in 1925 moved his residence to the studio he had on the premises. On June 7, 1926, Gaudí was run over by a tram and the taxi drivers refused to take a poor “vagabond” to the hospital. You see as Gaudí aged he payed little attention to how he dressed. This was so much so that no one realized it was him on the day of his accident. Gaudí died on June 12th, 1926, five days after the accident. All of Barcelona dressed in black to commemorate his life. His final resting place was a crypt of the edifice where he had worked for the last 43 years of his life, in the Sagrada Familia.


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Works

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La Sagrada Familia
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La Pedrera
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Casa de los Botines
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Palacio Episcopal de Astorgas
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Casa Battló

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