Barcelona would not be Barcelona without the work of two titans of the Modernista movement—Lluís Domènech i Montaner and the more famous Antoni Gaudí. From the Hospital Sant Pau to the Sagrada Familia, their colorful, nature-inspired, trippy works of art continue to enchant.
While Montaner was certainly a master, it was Gaudí’s work that made the Modernista movement world-renowned. His buildings made the phrase “attention to detail” seem like an understatement. At Palau Guell, for instance, he seamlessly blended masterworks of iron, wood, glass, and tile into a private home, the likes of which the world had never seen. His Barcelona masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction, is mind-numbing in large part because it’s hard to fathom how a building so awe-inspiring in size can be simultaneously unforgettable for its minute details. Sadly, his life ended in tragedy in 1926, as he was struck at age 73 by a tram, and because of his clothing (Gaudí dressed in clothes often described as rags) he did not receive immediate care and died.
Then, in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, his studio and his papers were destroyed in a fire. However, in 1956 his former assistant put together a monograph showing that the Catalan master had once hoped to bring some of his architectural sparkle to New York City’s skyline with a futuristic curved tower that would have been the tallest in the world.