Monday, January 2, 2012


 Antoni Gaudi is known throughout the world for his alternative take on Mediterranean architecture. As a child, I wanted very much to be an architect myself. Today, after spending a great deal of time looking at this mad-man's work, I am wondering why I did not pursue that dream. His story is not at all unique. An artistic minded person in Barcelona whose work was extraordinary as well as odd. Pablo Picasso is easily described in the same way.
 But Gaudi's life ended when he was an aged man, working tirelessly on a Cathedral, when he crossed a road without looking and was run down by a horse-drawn cart. No one realized that the "tramp" that they buried was the famous architect until days later. Now, after over one hundred years of work, the Cathedral is still unfinished.
The Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
La Pedrera is the first building ever to have been built with an underground parking lot. It was contracted to be an apartment building, but now serves as a museum in dedication to its architect.
Inside the Casa Mila

On Top of La Pedrera
The sculpted towers atop of the building are almost purely decorative. The path on the top is a set of staircases leading up and down in an unending circle.

Pedrera Floor Plans

Gaudi Furniture

Gaudi Fixtures

Gaudi Door

In the lower portions of the museum, there are example apartments set up for visitors to look at. They show furniture of the time, and an attempt at recapturing life as lived by residents.
I simply adore this sink, from the kitchen in one of the apartments.

On the Way up to Park Guell
Gaudi is perhaps the most well known for his sculptures in Park Guell. The park is located at the top of a hill in Barcelona. There is so much ground to cover that, to encourage visits from tourists, escalators have been put in on one side.
View from Park Guell

The Top of Park Guell
Tourists from all over climbed up to see the furthest reaches of the city from this high point. I went up too, but did not take many pictures for the crowd and my own fear of heights.
The Backs of Benches
A major attraction at Park Guell are the benches, upon which tired travelers sit and take in the performances of merchants and street musicians.
Gaudi Buildings
These beautiful buildings are seen from the benches of Guell Park. Inside the one on your right is a gift shop. But even with the commercialism, it is worth a look just to see the interior craftsmanship.
An Out of Place Apple

It reminds me of GingerBread Houses

This path under the park's walkways was also designed by the architect. The shape is mind bending...
A lady holding up the path and leaning on a pillar

Structure under the circular benches, between supporting pillars

A mosaic sculpture (Among Gaudi's finest)

The painting above is one found in a small bar called 4 Gats. This bar is well known because of its connection to Pablo Picasso. He regularly had his drinks at this bar, which now proudly displays several prints of his painting (not shown here). It is a nice little place to have a drink and some pinchos.
I regretfully did not have my camera with me when touring the Picasso museum, but it is worth touring. It is amazing to watch as his paintings and drawings begin with incredible detail near the levels of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, but deteriorate to simple line contours with hidden messages.

 Joan Miro is another artist who spent his time in Barcelona and created an abstract style. His sculptures, incredible and unnatural, are actually very beautiful. Although it is doubtful that I will ever understand the mind of such an artist, the images he created were quite whimsical.
Miro is another artist who began with a much more realistic style that slowly morphed into something completely different. Like Picasso, this artist's work seemed to devolve. Going from full-color cartoon like illustrations to simple stick figures in just a few decades. When looking through his collection (most of which I was not allowed to photograph) It seemed as though his art became more and more simple, showing childish shapes and simplifications.

Because I was unable to photograph the collection inside of the building, I made some sketches of the pieces that most interested me. Miro's older work was simple, but showed perspective and thought. Depth and reality were both very present and treated with the respect of a mathematician.
(Please excuse my scribbled notes. For clarification: Below the building "Miro's buildings remind me of mexican casas"; below the tree "The trees are varried, but simple"; Above the donkey "Animals are soft, rotund, simple and life-like")
His delicate interpretation of everyday things was to be admired.
But as time went on, the images became simpler, as did the subject matter.
(Above building "Soft angles, line networks"; "Later years" Bottom "It is difficult to capture the magic of hi later works without color")
("Sculpture" "Artist's Self Portrait" "Blue I, II, III")
"Mujer Pajaro Sculpture" (He likes to put women with birds)

From my perspective, as a self described artist, I find abstract art to be a form of short hand, meant only for the artist to understand. When I make images in my short hand, it is because I am running short on time, but need to get the idea on paper. If this was the case for men like Miro and Picasso, then they were possibly scared by their own mortality. And, in fear of the fact that life cannot last forever, they put down as many ideas as quickly as they could to try to preserve their thoughts for future like-minded artists.

So, a challenge for my artistic readers. Choose an abstracted piece by an artist you admire, and turn it into your own interpreted reality. Later next week, I will show you my own version of one of Miro's pieces.

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