Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
The life of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was full of complexity and contradictions. As a young man he joined the Catalonian nationalist movement and was critical of the church; toward the end of his life he devoted himself completely to the construction of one single spectacular church, La Sagrada Familia. In his youth, he courted a glamorous social life and the demeanor of a dandy. By the time of his death in a tram accident on the streets of Barcelona his clothes were so shabby passersby assumed he was a beggar. Gaudi's incomparable architecture channels much of this multifaceted intricacy. From the shimmering textures and skeletal forms of Casa Batllo to the Hispano-Arabic matrix of Casa Vicens, his work merged the influences of Orientalism, natural forms, new materials, and religious faith into a unique Modernista aesthetic. Today, his unique aesthetic enjoys global popularity and acclaim. His magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia, is the most-visited monument in Spain, and seven of his works are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Through brand-new photography, plans and drawings by Gaudi himself, historical photos, as well as an appendix detailing all his works-from buildings to furniture, decor to unfinished projects-this book presents Gaudi's universe like never before. Like a personal tour through Barcelona, we discover how the "Dante of architecture" was a builder in the truest sense of the word, crafting extraordinary constructions out of minute and mesmerizing details, and transforming fantastical visions into realities on the city streets.