Antoni Gaudi’s organic and unique style in architecture has influenced the world profoundly and I admire his work so much for a long time. “Organic” is such a great, and truthful word to describe Gaudi’s work. He regarded a building as a human body covered with skin, the structure itself was flesh and bones, so it’s curvy, and it has an element of randomness to the way he created art. He had lived a long life and left the world many great works to appreciate – most of them are in the Mediterranean city of Barcelona.
Even you don’t have much time in Barcelona, there are the 4 must-sees – or the most famous and well-known works of art that no visitor should miss!
Park Güell (1900–1914)
I guess it took the time to shape an artist’s character and style, and it must be the reputation and incredible experience accumulated that gave patrons confidence to hire Gaudi and create something so bold and striking at that time. Historians have divided Gaudi’s works into different periods, and all 4 most recognizable works in this list are from the “Naturalist period”, a period that Gaudi explored and applied organic shapes from nature to his architectural design, in almost every aspect.
Thanks to the rich people’s support and love of art, which gave artists the freedom to explore and create something new and unique for the world to see. It is not a giant park but it is full of surprises and green. My favorite part of the park is definitely the big square – an organic, spacious balcony overlooking the cityscape of Barcelona, from where you could see the La Sagrada Família and all the way to the coast.
Open Hours: 8:00 am – 9:30 pm
How did I get there: A short walk from Vallcarca or Lesseps stations, Metro L3.
Casa Batlló (1904–1906)
Another striking work from Gaudi was to renovate an old building in the city of Barcelona, and basically, he transformed it entirely to something most people think “radical” at that time as the building looked so different from the building standards in the city.
It was love at first sight. The house could be spotted far away on the street with its fences of balconies that look like eye masks in the Phantom of the Opera. There was a short line outside the house and I would recommend visitors to purchase tickets beforehand and skip the line for waiting.
An audio guide was included for each visitor to walk through the entire Casa. The fashionable casa was actually not big but to me, why it felt so “complete” – because the house was dressed H2T. Every corner and every turn there was a story and there was a surprise as if Gaudi had touched every inch of it. It is difficult to deny the amount of thought that the great architect had put into it; from the mosaic roof, the curvy tiles, the wicked staircase, the strange chandeliers…. All of them were a combination of genius math, physics, and art. It was so intense I couldn’t breathe :O !!!!
Open Hours: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
How did I get there: Easy enough, Passeig de Gràcia station, Metro L2, L3, L4.
Casa Milà (1906-1910)
Another mansion, better known as La Pedrera, situated on the other side of the road, a walking distance away from Casa Batlló. It was said to be Gaudi’s last civic work before he dedicated to La Sagrada Família. Same as Casa Batlló, it was at first mocked and judged by the locals regarding its rather “horrifying” exterior and “eccentric” perspectives. Time will tell.
Outside we saw yet another, even longer queue stood outside of the entrance and thank god we had bought tickets. 😛 For Casa Mila, we went straight str8 str8 to the roof terrace. It was a larger building and everyone should have seen or remembered the crooked set of chimneys that looked like soldiers wearing iron masks. At that time, terraces were merely considered as an area of waste, or housework for the luxury apartments downstairs, but Gaudi didn’t neglect the slightest details to his work. To the modern world, it has become an urban roof-top sculpture park. It was genius and I wonder why the Milà hated it so much?
Open Hours: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
How did I get there: I walked there from Casa Batlló, Diagonal station, Metro L5
La Sagrada Família (Until now)
La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s final project in his career and he dedicated the final part of his life. The beauty of Sagrada Familia is almost impossible to summarize. I think it would take a few dates to thoroughly explain every detail and meaning of Gaudi’s design of the structure.
I am the MOST passionate (& fascinated :P) about the 2 façades – the Nativity Façade and the Passion Façade. One of them is complicated, classic, and busy. The opposite one is clean, simple, modern… The Nativity Façade depicts the birth of Jesus Christ, sculptures (plants and animals and saints) organically ornate the façade without an inch of blank space. The Passion Façade represents the Passion of Christ. The entire storyline is vividly laid out one by one on the façade with modern giant sculptures.
The 2 façades face Northeast and Southwest, forward and backward, covered and bare, hard and soft, organic and passionate, life and death…
Check out more about my favorite cathedrals at My Top 12 Cathedral in Europe (2)!
Regret that I didn’t spend more time on-site, now I just take it all in with the pictures.
Open Hours: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Ticketing: Do expect long queues, we all know it is the most visited attraction in the city. Pre-book tickets are recommended. Yet, it could be tricky since there are lots of tourist agencies offering skip-the-line packages. One of those is here.
How did I get there: Sagrada Família station, Metro L2, L5
Must-see list of La Sagrada Familia:
- Passion Facade:
Among the Fachada de la Pasion’s stand-out features are the angled columns, dramatic scenes from Jesus last hours, an extraordinary rendering of the Last Supper, and a bronze door that reads like a sculptured book. But the most surprising view is from inside the door on the extreme right.
- Main Nave
The majestic Nave Principal showcases Gaudi’s use of tree motifs for columns to support the domes: he described this space as a forest. But it’s the skylights that give the nave its luminous quality, even more so once the scaffolding is removed and light will flood down onto the apse and main altar from the skylight 75m above the floor.
- Side Nave and Nativity Transept
Although beautiful in its own right with windows that project light into the interior, this is the perfect place to view the sculpted tree-like columns and get an overall perspective of the main nave. Turn around and you’re confronted with the inside of the Nativity Facade, an alternative view that most visitors miss: the stained-glass windows are superb.
- Nativity Facade
The Fachada del Nacimiento is Gaudi’s grand hymn to Creation. Begin by viewing it front-on from a distance, then draw close enough (but to one side) to make out the details of its sculpted figures. The complement to the finely wrought details is the majesty of the four parabolic towers that for the sky and are topped by the Venetian stained glasses.
- The Model of Colonia Guell
among the many original models used by Gaudi in the Museu Gaudi, the most interesting is the church at Colonia Guell. From the side you can, thanks to the model’s ingenious use of rope and cloth, visualize the harmony and beauty of the interior.
The Pass used to include La Pedrera, but now it is out of the picture. Still, I would recommend the art lovers to get this great Pass to visit 6 art museums at a lower price, and most importantly, skip the line! http://articketbcn.org/