Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Robert Hughes on 'God's Architect', Antonio Gaudi - 'Visions of Space'.

Robert Hughes, the historian, writer, and art critic, died recently. Although he wrote extensively, he will certainly be remembered for his excellent documentary television series 'The Shock of the New' in 1980, and 'Visions of Space' that was first aired by the BBC in 2003 and which dealt with the lives of three architects - the NAZI, Albert Speer, Mies van der Rohe, and the Catalan, Antonio Gaudi.
Although Hughes referred to Gaudi( 1852-1926) in this series as 'God's Architect' and pointed out that Gaudi's work such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Church of the Holy Family) is revered world wide today, and is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions, this was not always the case. In July 1936, at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, Catalan anarchists set fire to to the crypt and destroyed the workshop and models. Of the 58 churches destroyed in Barcelona, only the cathedral was spared. It also seems that many of the Catalan intelligensia also disliked Gaudi's masterpiece.
Construction of the Sagrada Familia commenced in 1882 and Gaudi took over the project the following year. Gaudi spent the remainder of his life on the project until his death in 1926, when less than a quarter of the building was complete.


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