When I was in Barcelona, briefly, four years ago, I fell in love with Gaudi – one of the leading architects of the modernism movement and modernism architecture. Honestly, if I had been introduced to Gaudi’s works when I was in high school, I believe that I would be an architect today.
This trip, I learned about the Modernism Route offered in Barcelona. It is a well marked trail that introduces you to the famous architects – Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch – who introduced the modernism to the Catalan people and made Barcelona the capital of modernism.
To follow the route, you can purchase a book for 12 Euros and follow the well-marked trail.
The marking on the sidewalk for the Modernism Route.
There are 120 buildings featured in the book and the route will take you all over Barcelona. My good-natured husband wandered many streets and waited while I read about the buildings and snapped photos. (Love you, Sweetie!!!)
There are also tours that can be arranged through the organization who maintains the route. I believe that all of your questions can be answered if you visit their webpage: http://www.rutadelmodernisme.com
At the turn of the century, this new art movement was happening throughout most of Europe. In France and Belgium, it was called Art Nouveau, in Germany it was called Jugendstil, in Austria-Hungary it was referred to as Sezession, it was the Liberty style in Italy and in Scotland the Modern or Glasgow style. This period began roughly in 1888 and ended around 1911. It not only influences architecture but painting, poetry, fiction and the decorative arts of cabinet making, ceramic, glass-making, gold and silver works to name a few.
La Sagrada de Familia
I just don’t know where to begin to share the amazing architecture of Barcelona with you. Maybe the best would be Gaudi’s cathedral “Temple Exiatori De La Sagrada de Familia” (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) that is still being constructed 91 years after his death and still isn’t finished! Gaudi’s vision for this cathedral shows how gifted he was.
This is a model of the completed cathedral. They estimate that it will be completed somewhere between 2026 and 2028, more than 140 years since it was started. When completed, it will be able to hold 13,000 worshippers.
There is so much symbolism in the design of this basilica. The tallest tower is to honor Jesus Christ, there are four towers to pay homage to the four evangelist – Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Twelve other towers represent the disciples. The three facades are dedicated to Jesus’ life and teachings….his birth, death and glory.
As I write this, the Glory Facade is not completed but when it is, it will be the entrance into the building. For now, the Nativity Facade is the main entrance.
This is part of the nativity facade. In the center, between the windows are Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus with a donkey and cow. To the right are the shepherds and to the left are the three wise men. Above all of them are the angels playing their instruments.
Close-up of Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and the animals.
The three wise men bearing gifts.
Gaudi loved to incorporate nature into his designs. Notice the leaves and flowers decorating the building.
True to his love of nature, Gaudi had turtles at the base of the columns on the Nativity Facade side.
The Nativity facade is very ornate but the Passion facade, on the opposite side of the building, is less embellished.
This facade shows the different events that led to Jesus’ death. It is meant to be read in an “S” shape. At the far bottom left is the last supper, the first event. Other scenes show Judas talking to the guards, Judas kissing Jesus, Jesus praying in the garden and so on. In the top center is Jesus being crucified. The columns tend to remind you of bones or ribs. At the very top, sitting between the towers is a figure of the “risen Jesus.”
Judas kissing Jesus, so the Roman soldiers would capture the correct man. Notice the cryptogram – the box of numbers – on the left. No matter how you add the numbers, they always add up to 33 – the age that Jesus was when he was crucified.
This is a tribute to Gaudi. The face of the disciple resembles Gaudi’s.
Peter in the act of denying he knew Jesus, one of the three times, before the rooster crowed in the next morning.
Jesus crucified with John comforting the Virgin Mary and Mary of Magdalene kneeling. The skull represents Calvary, the place where Jesus was crucified.
The risen Christ.
Stepping inside the basilica will just take your breath away. The floor plan is that of a cross with the central nave and side aisles. As I said earlier, you enter thought the doors on the Nativity Facade. True to Gaudi’s love of nature, the entry doors are covered in a design of leaves, flowers, bugs and bees.
Once inside, you are wrapped in a blanket of color from the stain glass windows……
This is one of the windows as you enter the basilica.
This east side of the basilica is bathed in the warm sun colors of reds, oranges and yellows. This represents the sunrise.
On the west side of the nave are the cool, evening colors of blues and greens.
As I took this photo, I am standing in the center of the nave looking towards the altar. Notice the top of the columns that hold the roof up. Guadi wanted the pillars to represent a forest and the “branches” are the support much like the “flying buttresses” used in the Gothic architecture for cathedrals. Notice high above the altar is a golden triangle mosaic. This is representative of the Holy Trinity within the world that was created by God.
The crucifix hanging above the altar, under a canopy decorated with staffs of wheat and bunches of grapes.
This photo is of a mirror that is situated so you can look at the ceiling and get a better feel for Gaudi’s “forest” of tree columns that he used to support the roof.
It was such a blessing to visit this beautiful creation of art by Gaudi. I am leaving you with a short video that I took standing inside the basilica. Hopefully, it will convey what I failed to with my words!
Palau de la Musica
This concert hall is considered one of the outstanding buildings for the Barcelona Modernista architecture. I couldn’t stop clicking pictures while I was there. I just loved everything about the interior of this building….I think it is the color of the stain glass windows that I appreciated most. It was built in 1905 to 1908 by architect Domenech i Montaner. This building is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. I will let my photos do the “talking” for this great wonder of a building!
The outside of the Palau de la Musica
Some of the details on the outside of the building.
Part of the ceiling and the balcony.
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Paul
Another creation of Montaner’s that is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list is the Hospital of the Holy Cross and of Saint Paul. It is a complex of buildings that makes up a small town within the fenced area close to the Eixample district. It was a 5 minute walk from where David and I were staying and is close to La Sagrada de la Familia basilica. Construction began in 1902 to support the new hygienic theories that were being discovered in treating the sick.
This is a of the model that was on display to give you a better understanding of the complex of buildings.
The main building.
Inside the lobby of the main building. Imagine being sick and walking through the doors to this glorious welcoming! It might make me forget how badly I was feeling!
The stairway in the main building to take you to the second floor.
The ceiling for the staircase.
An example of the stain glass windows that bordered the ceiling.
The hallway on the second floor.
Inside one of the rooms on the second floor.
More details of the room.
Another room, on the second floor, where they now have lectures. I would have a difficult time paying attention to the speaker.
I took this photo from the second floor of the main building to help you see the layout of the hospital. Isn’t it magnificent???
Another photo from the second floor of the main building looking down Gaudi Avenue (one of David and my favorite places to hang out) towards La Sagrada de la Familia.
Outside one of the buildings.
This is the inside of the same building.
One of the windows….nothing went undecorated.
Parting photos of outside art around the campus grounds:
Like all of Gaudi’s creations, this place is whimsical and magical! In the past, when I visited Barcelona, the park was open to the public and was free. Since my visit, they had closed the park for major renovations and now charge to get into certain areas and regulate the time of your entrance. I understand that it is to protect the art but I was disappointed as I didn’t realize that these changes had been made. David and I had wandered up there one afternoon….it is all uphill from central Barcelona, so it was a very good walk. By the time we arrived, the available time to visit the gated area was like 5 hours later. Not wanting to wait that long, we just wandered around and David got to see parts of the special part of the park from afar. I guess that it is better than not seeing it at all but wish he had been able to at least see the famous “dragon!” These photos are from my first Barcelona visit.
This is the main entrance. On either side of the gates, are two playful buildings that were meant to represent the cottages in Hansel and Gretel musical. The opera was being performed in Barcelona when Gaudi started to design the park in the late 1900s.
This is one of the cottages and it was Hansel and Gretel’s. Today, it is used as a bookstore and souvenir shop. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the witch’s cottage to the right. It is decorated with “poisonous” toadstool-shaped domes!
This is the main staircase to the entrance of the park. Among the greenery is a waterfall and behind that is the famous dragon.
This dragon has become a symbol for Barcelona. Miniatures can be purchased in all the souvenir shops.
Behind the stair case is hall supported by 86 columns but for some reason, they call this the Hall of 100 columns. When it was designed, it was intended to be used for a market but that never happened. The ceilings are decorated with colorful mosaics.
This is the rooftop for the market. Standing there, you get a wonderful view of the city.
The roof top has a bench that surrounds the perimeter which is decorated in splendid mosaics….imagine the work and time it took to finish this!
Finally, this is an example of the several bridges and viaducts that are throughout the park. This is underneath one of the bridges.
Park Guell is a great place to spend an afternoon. Just make certain you plan your day to allow you entrance to the places that I have shared with you. This website might help you with your planning: www.parcgüell.cat/en/
La Pedrera also known as Casa Mila
La Pedrera means “the quarry.” Gaudi was inspired by a sea cliff when he designed this building. The facade was made to represent cliffs with cave dwellings. The wrought iron on the balconies look like seaweed. The building was commissioned by industrialist Pere Mill and his wife, Rosa Segimon and was intended as a family home with apartments available for rent. This was Gaudi’s last civil engineering creation and is is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This is a model of the Casa Mila.
The lobby area with the floral motif decorating the ceiling.
This shows the courtyard that Gaudi incorporated to help with the lighting and ventilation of the apartments.
The rooftop with the stairwells, chimneys and ventilation shafts with unusual forms. Some believe that the shafts and chimneys look like soldiers with helmets.
Part of the decorations on the rooftop for the entrance to the stairwell.
This arch “frames” another Gaudi creation, La Sagrada de Familia Basilica.
The following photos were taken in the apartment that was recreated to help people see what life was like for the middle class of the early 1900s. Today, the other apartments in the building, are homes or used for offices.
The entry way.
These arches are in the attic….one of my favorite parts of the whole building! There are 270 arches in all. Today, it houses a display of Gaudi’s designs and things that he was inspired by to make his creations. In 1953, 13 apartments were built in the attic and were removed during the renovation of the building.
Details of the facade of Casa Batlló
Along with the basilica, this is my favorite Gaudi creation. In 1904, Gaudi was commissioned to remodel a 34 year old building by textile tycoon, Josep Batlló. With the help of Batlló’s money, Gaudi declared that he was going to create “a paradise on earth.”
He certainly used his creative abilities to make this house a masterpiece. Gaudi added a fifth floor to the house, extended the foyer, rebuilt the staircase and interior walls. There are no “right angles” in the house….every room and stairway are curves.
Whimsical decoration on the stairs.
The living room
This is the “courting fireplace”. There are benches on either side of the fireplace where the couple could sit and keep warm, by the fire, while they visited.
This chandelier compliments the courting fireplace room.
The light well is in the center of the house allows natural lighting on all the floors.
At the bottom of the light well, the tiles are a pearl gray and as they go upward, they gradually become darker until they are a cobalt blue near the skylight at the top.
The roof with the chimneys decorated with mosaics.
A close-up of the mosaics on the roof.
One of the hallways using an arched design.
I will close this post by sharing random photos that I took while walking along the Modernisme Route of the stunning architecture that enhances the lovely city of Barcelona.
A Convention Center
This building looks like it has push pins holding it together!
Close-up of the satin glass balconies.
The mosaic art on this building was exquisite!
This was decoration on the outside of a market.
When you plan your trip to Barcelona, make certain you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes. You will want to walk everywhere so you don’t miss all the beauty the city has to offer.
Until next time, I wish you blessings!