April 7th, 2010
I didn’t think I would like Gaudi. In fact, from what I had seen, I thought his creations were just flamboyant, showy and gaudy. Thank goodness it rained that fateful day in Spain.
I was in Barcelona, and being the dutiful tourist, I of course was going to mark off having visited the obligatory Gaudi sites. You know, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Parc Guel and Casa Mila. I rambled up the Ramblas, the famous pedestrian street thronged by locals and visitors alike, and found myself standing in front of the multi-storied edifice of Casa Batllo (43 Paseo de Gracia). I was, so far, unimpressed. How little I understood of what I was viewing! You see, I love all things in nature…animals, oceans, trees, patterns, and it seems these same elements inspired Antoni Gaudi in his spectacular work. But so far, I was ignorant of this fact. Had it been a clear day, I would have moved on, having seen this structure, and having more things to savor in Barcelona. As it was, the sky had opened up and it made walking in the street an uncomfortable prospect, so I purchased a ticket for entry and there the romance began.
Everything inside this residence is a magical and extraordinary tribute to nature. The delicate patterns on the never-straight walls emulate the undulating patterns of light on water…or is it a nod to the shell of a sea turtle? Either way, Gaudi had me at “hello”. I spent hours gawking at his engineering feats as well as his love of the aesthetic and playful. He is sincere…his love for nature and the strength of natural elements and forms drives his designs and structures. Everything has a reason, meaning, purpose.
Up on the roof (don’t miss this!) the tiled roof line is said to symbolize the spine of the dragon slain by St. George, patron saint of Catalonia, and the custom chimney spire represents the hilt of his sword. Be still my heart…fairy tales, legends and nature…what is there not to love about this passionate architect/sculptor/artist. I love being broadsided…having my preconceived ideas and opinions jolted off their foundations and flipped upside down. I hope you enjoyed this journey, too…and I strongly recommend putting Gaudi on your Spanish “to do” list. Wait ’till I tell you about Parc Guel!
Guess what? I just wrote about Parque Guell – Read Part I here
All Photos by G. Stark