The well-known Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi, once said, “Originality consists of returning to the origin. Thus, originality means returning, through one’s resources, to the simplicity of the early solutions.” (qtd. in Craven n.p.) This quote is a great reflection of Gaudi’s unique style and works. Barcelonian architecture in the time of Gaudi was characterised by the Catalan Modernisme movement. Gaudi, being one of the movement’s representatives, showed his creativity and his individuality though his works which were inspired by nature. Many of the other architects of the Modernisme movement used their own individuality and depiction of nature as well. (Inman, ed. 20) Contemporary Spanish architects also incorporate Antoni Gaudi’s style into their architecture.
Antoni Gaudi i Cornet was born on June 25, 1852. He lived in a town called Reus in Catalonia. His father worked as a coppersmith in a nearby village. Having four older siblings, Gaudi was the youngest child in his family. In his childhood, he suffered from rheumatism. That illness, as well as other factors such as his discovery of nature, made Gaudi pay more attention to the world that surrounded him (Duran 2-3).
Antoni Gaudi went to school in Escola Pies. There, he learned more about his religion, which played a big role in his life and later works, particularly the Sagrada Familia. It also had a bearing on his architecture as it was there that Gaudi was able to develop his strong yet resolute personality which was later reflected in his works. He put a lot of effort into the things that interested him. Those that did not appeal to him, on the other hand, he showed no interest towards (Duran 2).
When Gaudi was seventeen years old, he left Reus to live and study in Barcelona. It was then that he decided that he was serious about studying. Gaudi enrolled at the Barcelona School of Architecture. There, he realized that he preferred learning from experience and the things that surrounded him, rather than from books. Even as early as his years as a student, Gaudi’s eccentric ideas had become quite evident. Despite this, he went on to receive his diploma in 1878 (Van Zandt 5).
Antoni Gaudi’s first commission came when he was around twenty six years old. The city of Barcelona tapped Gaudi to design and create streetlights for Placa Real. Although his designs were used, the city’s authorities were not very interested in Gaudi’s works. Gaudi’s commissions came from private patrons who were more welcoming towards his eccentric style. Most of these commissions came from a textile manufacturer named Eusebi Güell, his principal patron (Van Zandt 6).
Towards the end of his life, Gaudi devoted himself solely to the construction of his most famous, yet unfinished, work, the Sagrada Familia. The elements of the structure reflected Gaudi as a devout Catholic, especially in the different sculptures. Having gone though many difficulties, such as the...