Antoni Gaudí and his time

Gaudí & his time

Antoni Gaudí, his works & his time

Gaudí grew up during a time when Catalonia was rediscovering its glorious past. The period is named la renaixença in Catalan. The use of the word renaissance alludes to the fact that the people of Catalonia wanted to get back to the greatness of the Catalan middle ages - a time where Catalonia was an independent superpower in the Mediterranean.

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló interior space

This came at a time when Catalonia experienced an economic prosperity, which primarily was due to the growing industrialization of Catalonia. The economic and cultural climate created frames that were the perfect conditions for a renewal within the arts, and architecture that goes under the name of modernism. The greatness of the middle ages and the gothic architecture were the most important influences for the architects and artists at the end of the 19th century.

Gaudí quickly became one of the most important architects of his time - but he was far from the only modernist architect. Catalan modernism was a very wide movement that influenced a great quantity of artists, architects and artisans. Among the most important ones are Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923), Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956), Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas (1848-1910) og Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) and, of course, Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926).

Organic forms on Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló interior space

The meeting with Eusebi Güell

During the summer of 1878 Gaudí met the very rich industrialist Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi. The two men had in common that they were Catalan nationalists and interested in art. Eusebi Güell had created his fortune thanks to the growth within the textile industry, and during his journeys to England he had leant about the newest trends of art and had enlarged his knowledge about socialism and social residence construction.

Earlier this year, Güell had visited the Universal Exposition in Paris and among other things he had seen a 3 meter high display cabinet made of crystal – created by Gaudí. Güell was impressed and the two men met. Eusebi Güell was then 31 years old while Gaudí was 26. They were both to live many more years and the meeting between them meant to start a collaboration and friendship that were to last for many years. The collaboration between Gaudí and Güell gave Barcelona some of its most charismatic architectonic works.

Main Works

Casa Batlló

With the construction of Casa Batlló (1904-06) Gaudí reached a peak in his career. The use of tiles and the waving movement of the structure was something new that was to be a leitmotiv in the future architecture of Gaudí. The house is a transformation of an already existing building that Gaudí gave a radical reformation, giving it new life and including many references and allusions to the history of Catalonia.
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Casa Milà

The enormous building a bit further up the street (Passeig de Gràcia), Casa Milà, is yet another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces. It was commissioned by a friend of Batlló, Pere Milá i Camps. Gaudí designed furniture to the building and built one of the most distinctive of the city's buildings. in fact the building was so peculiar to Gaudï's contemporaries that they baptized the building la pedrera (the quarry) and the newspapers made caricature drawings of it. However, in 1984 Gaudí and Casa Milà got their well deserved recognition: this was the year when Casa Milà was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
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La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is probably the most famous building in Barcelona and one of the most well known in Spain. Gaudí worked 43 years on the construction of the church, and the building is still not finished (the construction work is supposed to end sometime in the 2020's). La Sagrada Familia will have 18 towers representing the 12 apostles, the 4 evangelists, Virgin Mary and Jesus. The Tower of Jesus will be the highest: it will rise from the center of the church and go up 170 meters – the towers that have been finished are 109 meters high.
Read more about Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia visit with guide
Visit the fantastic monument designed by local architect Antoni Gaudí on a private guided tour. Our Tour to the Sagrada Familia lets you enjoy the architecture with a professional, English speaking guide and skip-the-line-tickets
Prices from
32 €
per person for the guided tour + entrances to Antoni Gaudís Sagrada Familia
Modern architecture Tour with guide in Barcelona
On the Modern Architecture Tour you will see the most important moderne architecture of Barcelona together with a local, English speaking architect. See modern masterpieces of architects such as Jean Nouvel, Benedetta Tagliebue, Richard Rogers and Frank Gehry.
Prices from
20 €
per person for a private tour with and architecture guide.
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