Gaudí has been a cry for originality in his personal and genuine works, with a personal style that has deserved the title of key figure in the architecture of all time- and when we mention Modernism the name Gaudí is without a doubt always implicit in the word.
Gaudí was very well connected with the Catalan bourgeoisie, especially with Eusebi Güell, since under the shelter of his sponsorship the artist was able to realize his ideas. He was a profound and deeply religious man, and throughout his life he displayed a strict civic commitment and a great love for his land "Catalonia".
His architecture is inspired by the styles of the past such as Arabic, Gothic and Baroque, which he captures making them his own in a very original way. His creation never hesitates to plunge into the nature and the light of the Mediterranean in order to find his own inspiration.
Gaudí's architecture recreates the use of curves and dynamic forms from the Gothic, which excelled by the application of artisan decorative techniques in stained glass and iron forges, as well as by the treatment of mosaics and colourful ceramic fragments.
When Gaudí was hit by a tram and died that afternoon of June 7th 1926 he was an architect known for his innovative creations. But he was not fully accepted, as detractors failed to understand the audacity of the artist's conception of his own art and the boldness of his technical construction.
What remains to note is that in this great artist's life there was a strong ideological commitment to nationhood in terms of Catalan identity. There are stories that are very typical of Gaudí and which are the proof of this stance such as
when Miguel de Unamuno visited the works of the Sagrada Família and he asked the poet Joan Maragall to be his interpreter in view of Gaudí's reluctance to speak Spanish.
Another example would be when the 11th September 1924, under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the architect was arrested for going to a mass held at the Church of St. Just in memory of the fallen patriots after the devastation of 1714. As the mass was being held in Catalan he was prevented from going into the church and he was forced to pay a fine of 50 pesetas.
He uttered these words after this incident, which prophesied a future in which unfortunately we still find ourselves: "when I remember what happened to me I worry that we're heading for a dead end, and ultimately a radical change will be necessary".
Gaudi died five years before 14th April 1931, day of the proclamation of the Catalan Republic.
This collection of experiences shows an artist with a strong ideological commitment to national identity.
Creatively, his work exudes Catalonia everywhere, from the projection of its buildings to the ornate details expressing a clearly Catalan aesthetic sense.
Montse Solé and Montse Olivé
Montse Solé and Montse Olivé