Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein
Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature.– Antoni Gaudi
Do you wonder too, if with this novel and principal idea, did Einstein inspire the Art Nouveau movement? I wouldn’t go that far, although this thought of aligning art with nature seemed to be the most popular idea among geniuses in the late 19th century. From Victor Horta in Brussels to his contemporary Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, these artists had created masterpieces that continue to amaze us more than a century later.
While I have seen, observed, written and shared about Art Nouveau marvels in Brussels, there is a big repository in Catalunya (particularly Barcelona) as well. The Art Nouveau movement began in Catalan around 1888 and was named ‘Modernisme.’ Propagated majorly by Gaudi in art and architecture, this was also a literary movement until 1911. Gaudi is, of course, the most famous, since he managed to create a unique personal style outside the realm of Modernisme during the period. Born in Reus in 1852, Antoni Gaudi i Cornet always wanted to study Architecture and did so, graduating in Barcelona in 1878.
Gaudi believed that he had Mediterranean heritage and was deeply influenced by the nature and art there. If you notice the motifs and shapes closely in most of his works, there is a distinct flavour and fragrance off the sea – its waves, the flora and fauna. This set of seven tiles, repeated in a pattern to create this Mediterranean atmosphere is no less than a work of astounding art. They include fossil shell, starfish and algae. These tiles were meant to be used in Casa Batlló, but the plan was scrapped and they were installed in Casa Milà instead. I probably missed clicking these tiles on the Passeig de Gràcia, the footpath right in front of Casa Batlló.
The motifs and symbolisms in Park Güell are better examples of Gaudi’s work in this phase of naturalism. From the iconic mosaic Salamander to benches in shape of a sea serpent, Gaudi has bared his love for nature in this park commissioned to him by the industrialist Eusebio Güell. If you notice the bench closely in the photo below, there are little holes to collect rainwater for the park, designed by Gaudi. The bench has strategic curves too for hosting conversations between the visitors to prevent eavesdropping. If that does not display the genius of Antoni Gaudi, I possibly cannot fathom what else would!Continue reading