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Antoni Gaudi

Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia
The Casa Milà, in the Eixample, Barcelona
View of the Parc Güell, El Carmel, Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet in Catalan, Antonio Gaudí in Spanish, (1852 - 10 June 1926) was a Catalan architect who is famous for his ground-breaking, modernistic designs.

He was born and educated, and worked all his life in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

His first works were influenced by gothic and Catalan architectural modes but he developed his own distinct sculptural style.
In the first years of his career, Gaudí was strongly influenced by a French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc who promoted the return to an evolved form of gothic architecture.

But Gaudí surpassed Viollet-le-Duc, and created buildings and designs that were highly original - irregular, fantastically shaped with intricate art nouveau-like patterns. Some of his masterworks, most notably, La Sagrada Família have an almost hallucinatory power.

He brings the parabolic arch[?], the organic shapes of nature and underwater[?] into architecture. He also uses the Catalonian trencadís[?] technique of broken tiles to decorate surfaces.

He was ridiculed by his contemporaries, at his beginning being supported only by the rich industrialist Eusebi Güell[?]. His fellow citizens referred the Casa Milá as La Pedrera ("the quarry"). George Orwell, who stayed at Barcelona during the Spanish War[?], very much disliked his work.

As time passed, though, his work became recognised and he is considered one of Catalonia's best and brightest[?]. Japanese tourists[?] are especially fond of his work.

Politically, he was a fervent Catalan nationalist. In his later years, he left secular work and devoted all his time to Catholic religion and his Sagrada Familia.

He was run down by a tramway and his corpse was thought a tramp's because of his careless attire and the obscurity of his last years.

Though acknowledged as a genius, there is a theory that Gaudí was color blind and that it was only in collaboration with Josep Maria Jujol[?], an architect 27 years his junior whom he acknowledged as a genius in his own right, that he produced his greatest works.

Gaudi's major works in chronological order :

He left a draft of an aborted project for a sky-scraper[?] Hotel Attraction[?] in New York. It was the inspiration for a reconstruction project for the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001.

Many of these works are found in the Eixample district of Barcelona, and three of them, the Parc Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Milà, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A process to get Gaudí declared blessed by the Catholic church is being promoted since 1992 by a secular association.

See also: architecture

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