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Antoni Gaudi
(1852-1926)

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Truly universal works in view of the diverse cultural sources from which they are inspired, the creations of Antonio Gaudi y Cornet (1852-1926) in Barcelona represent an eclectic as well as very personal architectural style which led to new styles, not only as regards architectural style, but also for gardens, sculpture and all forms of decorative art.  

Mila House looks like a mass of undulating stone where architecture turns into sculpture and where the original roof and chimneys, abstract and anachronistic, are especially eye-catching.  
Antoni Gaudi. Art Nouveau. Photograph of "La Pedrera", Barcelona. Spain 1978. Art Nouveau. Antoni Gaudi in front of "La Pedrera".

GŁell park was conceived as a residential area with 60 plots on which individual houses were to be built with a splendid view of Barcelona and the sea in the background.  Work started in 1900 and finished after Gaudi's death. What remains outstanding in the Park is the perfect, original and mutually complementary combination the artist achieved with architecture and sculpture, nature and space, colour and light.   

Antoni Gaudi. Art Nouveau. Photograph from Parque GŁell, Barcelona. United Nations Vienna 1000. World Heritage Site of Barcelona, Spain.

GŁell Palace, which took four years to build, was finished in 1890.  It was commissioned by the Catalan philanthropist Esebio GŁell, Gaudi's main patron.  In it, Gaudi uses parabolic arches with a constructive and ornamental function, mushroom-shaped and hyperbolic capitals, and chimneys with abstract decoration.  Mila House, popularly called "La Pedrera", was Gaudi's last great civil building and it was finished in 1910.  

Gaudi's work in Barcelona was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1984, not only because of his original craftsmanship, but because he signals the end of nineteenth-century eclectic architecture and leads the way to contemporary creations, unrestrained by the past. 

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Revised 24-jul-2006. Ann Mette Heindorff
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