Facts and Info about
Antoni Gaudí y Cornet (1852–1926) was a
Spanish architect whose idiosyncratic work, characterized by
undulating curves and richly colored scrambled textures, won
wide international recognition only after the mid-20th
Antonio (Antoní is the Catalan spelling)
Plácido Guillermo Gaudí was born in Reus, in the Catalan region
of Spain, on June 25, 1852.
As a young person he went to nearby
Barcelona, where he studied at the school of
architecture. There he did
architectural work to help support himself, and thus acquired
great Gothic cathedral in Barcelona and the many neo-Renaissance secular buildings in the city
were major sources of inspiration for Gaudí, who remained in Barcelona for the rest of his
By the time he completed
his formal studies, Gaudí had already begun to develop his unique style—blending elements of Gothic
art, art nouveau, known as modernismo in Catalonia, and functional structure.
His favorite forms were
inclined columns to add stress to ceilings, paraboloid arches, thin edge-butted tile vaults, and
the richest, most colorful textures possible, often mosaics made of broken tile
Soon he found rich patrons in Barcelona who favored his elaborate style with art
nouveau whiplash curves and its exuberance of colorful textured surfaces.
For shipping magnata and textile
manufacturer Eusebio Güell Bacigalupi, his most important
patron, Gaudí built a palace (1885–1889), now a museum. The
building is marked by its fantastic roof line, parabolic arched
entrances, and lavish ironwork.
Among his other works for Güell are the
brilliantly imaginative park, the Park Guell (1900–1914) and
the lower part of a chapel (1898–1915), remarkable for its thin
shell vaults held up by inclined pillars.
He had other patrons who were also resident
in Barcelona and for whom he constructed the Casa Vicens
(1878–1880) and the Casa Batlló (1905–1907).
It was the almost
outlandish Casa Milà (1905–1910) in which the artist carried his double-curved walls to their
most extreme limits.
Gaudí died in Barcelona
on June 10, 1926, after being hit by a streetcar. His greatest project, the Church of the Sagrada
Familia in Barcelona, was left unfinished at the time of his death. He had begun work on the church
as early as 1884. From 1910 to 1926, however, he devoted his efforts exclusively to his
construction continued haphazardly and at a slow pace through the 1990s—and will most likely do so
into the 21st century—the vast church, with its hyperbolic paraboloids (saddle-shaped curves) and
wealth of decorative elements, stands out as one of the 20th century's great religious
The great American
architect Louis Sullivan said in 1922 that Gaudí's Church of the Sagrada Familia was "spirit
symbolized in stone." At that time few people could appraise his statement, for although well known
in Catalonian Spain, Gaudí's work was neglected outside his native country after the
Partly owing to the
surrealists who were fascinated by the fantastic element in his work, but mostly owing to
architects and art historians, Gaudí's genius finally became widely appreciated, although this did
not occur until more than 30 years after his death.