Antoni Gaudì (1852-1926)

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect and designer, whose distinctive style is characterized by freedom of form, voluptuous colour and texture, and organic unity.

Portrait of Antoni Gaudì, Pau Audouard, 1878

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About his life

Antoni Gaudì was born on June 25, 1852. His father was a physician.  Antonio himself became interested in architecture from a young age. He attended school in Barcelona. This city later became home to most of his great works. Gaudí was part of the Catalan modernist movement, eventually surpassing it with his natural organic style. Gaudí died on June 10, 1926 in Barcelona, Spain.

Houses in Park Güell designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain

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What are his major works?

  • Sagrada Familia (Spanish for the Holy Family) is the most famous of all Gaudí’s works. Its construction began in 1882. The famous architect took over the supervision of the cathedral a year later, but he did not live to see the completion of his masterpiece. In fact, less than one third of the church had been built by the time of his death.
Sagrada Familia, Gaudì, 1882-1926, Barcelona

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  • Casa Mila or La Pedrera (1906-1912) is one of the best examples of the architect’s creativity;
  • Park Güell (1900-1914) was commisioned by Eusebi Guëll and it is one of the most famous and beautiful public parks in the world even though it was never completed;
  • Casa Batllo or House of Bones (1906), in Barcelona;
  • Church of Colonia Güell (1908-1914), which is actually a crypt;
  • Episcopal Palace of Astorga (1889-1913) is one of most famous Gaudi’s works outside Catalonia;
  • Güell Palace is one of his first works and one of his greatest masterpieces in the late 1880s;
  • Casa de los Botines or Casa Fernandez y Andres (1891) is a spectacular building in Leon which was commissioned by Simon Fernandez and Mariano Andres;
  • Casa Calvet (1898-1900), which had a unique, original and innovative design;
  • Casa Vicens (1883-1889), built as a residential building for the entrepreneur Manuel Vicens.
Casa Batllo, Gaudì, 1906, Barcelona

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How can we identify Gaudì’s style?

Guadí’s fantastical style was created  by a number of influences and was largely the result of the architectural context of the late 19th century, when the need to follow strict historical styles began to go out of favor.  In this way, Gaudí was able to draw inspiration from oriental styles and was strongly influenced by Gothic Revival architecture, embodied in particular in the works of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc. However, he considered Gothic architecture to be “imperfect” and began filling his works with a variety of motifs taken from nature. Gaudí followed advances in engineering and his work regularly features catenary curves, hyperbolic paraboloids, hyperboloids and helicoids, shapes which he used to create efficient (but more importantly dynamic and organic) structures.

Interior of Sagrada Familia, Gaudì, 1882-1926, Barcelona

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