The Fantastical designs of Antoni Gaudi: A Religious Wonderland
At the beginning, the purpose of this paper was to examine how La Sagrada Familia fit into vernacular architecture. I was to analyse this structure with the other buildings in Barcelona, compare and contrast them to find out what the reasoning behind this building. I was supposed to find the reason why La Sagrada Familia was important to its environment in Spain. However, on further examination I realized that the real focus of this building was the architect Antoni Gaudi. Realizing this caused me to have to recalibrate my paper and try to understand Gaudi’s influence on architecture, Barcelona, and Catalan culture. I am going to do this through the examination of La Sagrada Familia, accompanied by a brief look at his other works and what influenced him. Imagine beginning the construction of a building in 1882 and projecting the finish date to be in 2026-2041. For the beautiful cathedral called La Sagrada Familia located in Barcelona, Spain this is the reality. In its beginning stages of construction, the building was to be a neo-gothic style but after one year and the addition of a new engineer, Antoni Gaudi, plans changed dramatically and took on a, according to Irving, Catalan Modernisme flare. In fact, the unusual styling of this peculiar building garnered the attention of Salvador Dali. He was quoted saying “Like a giant, decaying tooth, [La Sagrada Familiar] is full of possibilities” (Irving 2007). These possibilities that Dali speaks of is its tactile, organic form and the fact that its fantastical carved facades of this astonishing building are laden with Christian symbolism- making it Barcelona’s most famous landmark. The more I researched the curious building the more interested I became about the style Catalan Modernisme, Antoni Gaudi and La Sagrada Familia. The bulk of my paper will be spent answering such questions as: What is Catalan Modernisme? Who is Antoni Gaudi and what influenced him? How did Gaudi dream up the structures he made? What is the Sagrada Familia and what symbolism does it hold? Lastly, what makes this building so special? According to the books Gaudi: Complete Works and Antoni Gaudi, Catalan Modernisme was implemented to celebrate the objectives of the various middle and upper classes. The Catalan Modernisme focused on the purposeful life and the representative nature of public spaces and expressed these ideals in monumental public and private architecture which often included exuberant forms and colors. This style promoted the craft works of ceramicists, blacksmiths, and ebony workers, mixing various historicist influences and assimilating innovations in technology and construction. Catalan Modernism had very distinctive characteristics of multi-color mosaics, tiles decorated with motifs and relief patterns which were usually designed by the architect, stunning stained glass, elegant lamps and candle holders made of delicate metal and glass, and large masculine stone sculptures that were painted white which then became part of the architect’s structure. This style’s influence is clearly found in Antoni Gaudi’s work as he is known for his understanding of structure and decoration using color, light, and sculpture. His expertise in this field has lead to his work to become subject of extensive investigation and analysis. The origin of the style, Catalan Modernism, came out of Barcelona and influenced the works of the cathedral’s architect Antoni Gaudi. Modernisme was a cultural movement led by distinctive and anti-traditionalist scholars and intellectuals. They attempted to shake up Catalan arts and ideas so that Catalan culture may eventually be considered equal with other European artistic cultures. (Crippa, Gossel, 11) Antoni Gaudi is one of the exceptional figures of Catalan Modernisme culture and international architecture. The official website of the Sagrada Familia says that he was born in Baix...
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