Forgive me Father, I have sinned. It has been over a year since I last visited Barcelona, to study the great artwork in public places by Antoni Gaudi and other fine artists.
Barcelona is a model city with great vibrant culture and tasty culinary treats (wine and tapas anyone?). The sidewalk is a feast for your eyes as you stroll along the main street of Passeig de Gracia, where you will find several superb examples of Gaudi’s supernatural architecture — like colorful seaweed-twisted facades out of a Jules Verne sci-fi movie. Six years ago, amid the “witch-scarers” on the rooftop of La Pedrera, I proposed to Stephanie and she said “What?”, as she removed the ear-plugs from her audiotape headset and, after a few seconds of confusion, began sniffling tears of joy, then “yes, yes, yes! Of course I will!”
(Left) Casa Batlo on Passeig de Gracia stands like a chameleon, changing color with each passing hour as the sun rises and falls.
Another fine example below is La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s tragic cathedral which has been under active construction for the last 100 years. I say tragic, because Gaudi was sadly struck and killed by a trolley car in 1926 while going door-to-door soliciting money to help build this monumental project. He was 74 years old.
And then there is Gaudi’s Parc Guell, a large open public park filled with tiled stone walls, lizard fountains, picnic spaces, gingerbread-style houses and fabulous arches made of curving stone tree-roots.
Gaudi was clearly ahead of the curve, as both an artist and architect, since many of his beautiful buildings use the inherent strength of curves and parabolic arches instead of the squared off lines found in almost all traditional construction (look around you — are your walls and ceilings flat? If so, then they are weak and likely also quite boring). Hidden in the attic museum of Gaudi’s La Pedrera building is a most wonderful display, showing weighted loops of fine chain suspended over a mirror. Gaudi the architect realized that the reflected images of these chains held the key to designing weight-bearing curved arches in his Sagrada Familia cathedral. A modern genius whose brilliance is due to be rediscovered and hailed by the new generation!
But enough about Gaudi. There is more on the artistic buffet, so save room for Joan Miro, Eduardo Chillida and Frank Gehry. I realize your appetite has been somewhat whetted by Gaudi’s tasty works, so I will continue this Barcelona tour-de-force on another post:)