“Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature.”
— Antoni Gaudi
One year ago today I published a post that is one of my favorites, because it includes a link to a delightful PBS re-mix featuring Fred Rogers. It’s all about how “you can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.” When I went back to that post, I was reminded of Antoni Gaudi, whose mind must have been one of the most strangely fantastic gardens of all time.
I had never heard of Gaudi until we visited Barcelona, but seeing his work at various places in that city was an unforgettable experience. In fact, our time at Park Güell stands out in my mind as one of the most wonderful memories in the two-week trip of a lifetime. I’m not the first person who thinks immediately of Dr. Seuss when seeing Gaudi’s eccentric buildings; the similarities are fairly obvious. Scholars have suggested that Gaudi was almost certainly an influence in Theodor Geisel’s whimiscal fantasy illustrations.
Imagine my surprise, then, to find that Gaudi was a devout ascetic who wanted to parallel divine creation by following natural law. He apparently thought of his creations as being based on earthly landscapes, where he perceived only curved lines. I suppose it makes sense from that standpoint, but a quick visual review of the beautifully odd works he created might give you an idea why I see his architecture as the most otherworldly constructions I’ve come across. And their vibrant colors and elaborate designs are not remotely suggestive of the spare, abstemious existence he embraced in his personal life.
Very few professional artists, let alone amateurs, can hope to leave the sort of unique fingerprint Gaudi achieved, but that’s probably a good thing. Regardless, we can be inspired by his singular vision, and cultivate our own gardens of ideas with which we can decorate our lives and our personal corners in the world.
Do you agree with Gaudi that all art (even his own whimsical work) has its source in nature? What do you think of his creations?
One year ago today