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The End of Summer Tour
This is the last in our 2014 summer series on virtual visits to some of the well-know architectural and artistic treasures throughout the world. This week we visit two locations in Barcelona, the Sagrada da Familia, and the Park Güell, creations of the architect and artist Antoni Gaudi.
Sagrada da Familia
“The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is a work on a grand scale which was begun on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.
The building is in the centre of Barcelona, and over the years it has become one of the most universal signs of identity of the city and the country. It is visited by millions of people every year and many more study its architectural and religious content.
It has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset, 132 years ago now, it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: “The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.” The building is still going on and could be finished some time in the first third of the 21st century. “
Park Güell is an urban park to the north of the Barcelona district of Gràcia designed by Antoni Gaudí, who planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 for Eusebi Güell as a luxury villa, where 60 houses for the richest families of the Barcelona bourgeoisie would be built.
The sale of the houses was not as successful as expected and, a few years later, it became a public park. It is considered one of Gaudí’s most colorful and playful works even though it was never fully completed.
The park extends beyond the structures covering the hill with stepped pedestrian paths and gardens amid the lush foliage. Near the base stands the house Gaudí had built for his own use in the park, the work of his disciple Francesc Berenguer (1905). The house has since been converted into the Casa-Museu Gaudí and houses furnishings designed by Gaudí as well as personal memorabilia. UNESCO declared Güell Park a World Heritage site in 198
“Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (Catalan pronunciation: [ənˈtɔni ɣəwˈði]; 25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.
Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces.
Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by natural forms. Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as three-dimensional scale models and molding the details as he conceived them.
Gaudí’s work enjoys global popularity and continuing admiration and study by architects. His masterpiece, the still-uncompleted Sagrada Família, is the most-visited monument in Spain. Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.