Catalan modernisme was a movement that gained popularity in the Catalan region of Spain in the 19th century. The capital of the movement was Barcelona with Antonio Gaudì.
Catalan Modernism Architecture
Antonio Gaudí was born in 1852. In Barcelona, the city of his great works, he was influenced by nature. Gaudí died while he was still working on his most important work, the Sagrada Familia in 1926. Gaudí conceived the Sagrada Familia as based on the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals. His intention was to recall Christian belief through the architecture and the beauty of the building and express the message of the Evangelists. He achieved a symbiosis between form and Christian iconography, via logical structures, and geometrical patterns inspired by nature, with light and colour playing a key role.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner was born in Barcelona in 1850 and completed his studies in Madrid. Between 1905 and 1908, he designed the “Palau de la Música”, famous to be his best work. He worked at important buildings in Barcelona. His last work, finished between 1915 and 1920, was the restoration of the Montsió Convent in Barcelona.
The Catalan Modernist architect, Josep Maria Jujol Gibert began to collaborate with Antonio Gaudí in several of his most important works. Jujol’s best known projects are Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Park Güell, and Our Lady of Montserrat.
Casa Milà was also called “La Pedrera” (stone quarry) because it recalls an open quarry in its aspect. He projected the house as a constant curve, outside and inside, including the rigour of geometry and naturalistic elements. One of the distinctive elements of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights. Each element has a specific architectural function.
Image source: https://www.vivagaudi.org/la-pedrera/
Catalan Modernism Furniture
Gaudí’s overall interest in architecture led him to become passionate with all decorative elements, including furniture, as a part of the whole work. The appreciation of several designers for Gaudí’s furniture has not gone unnoticed by Bd, a company that wanted to create reproductions using the same materials. Gaspar Homar and Joan Busquets were two important examples of this art.
Image source: https://www.museunacional.cat/en/file/25803
Painting in Catalonia
The visual artists had some difficulty finding their own spot in Modernism. The architects were free to express creativity, painters, on the other side, stayed conservative for a long time. Among the most significant painters were Ramón Casas and Santiago Rusiñol i Prats. Thay had spent some time in Paris from where they took impressionism to Barcelona. It was no longer about the detailed depiction of a landscape.