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i don t usually like biographies apparently not enough biogs are about remarkable surrealist visions railing against city councils when they f up your elephant foot column eating lettuce dipped in milk with handfuls of nuts seeds molding serpentine benches to fit people an impossible cathedral to fit heaven of course gaud was eccentric arrogant cantankerous did you expect anything else originality means going back to our origins, insisted the guy who crafted a thin metal curta i don t usually like biographies apparently not enough biogs are about remarkable surrealist visions railing against city councils when they f up your elephant foot column eating lettuce dipped in milk with handfuls of nuts seeds molding serpentine benches to fit people an impossible cathedral to fit heaven of course gaud was eccentric arrogant cantankerous did you expect anything else originality means going back to our origins, insisted the guy who crafted a thin metal curtain from old textile mill needles, made masterpieces from cracked pottery designed a ceiling to look like a seabed i felt at my most peaceful sitting in a screened porch a rooftop he built, having coffee early one morning looking up at that white plaster ceiling suddenly seeing the sea Fantastic to learn about the human behind the architecture Reading this was a task though Full of Catalan history and words which are difficult to process Fascinating story about the architect Antoni Gaudi You need to a have an understanding of architectural styles and possess a deep knowledge of Catholicism to really appreciate this biography I have neither, so it was a tough read for me It did give me a broad feel for events leading up to the Spanish Civil War and insights into the man, so overall, it was a worthwhile read. If you intend to read Gaudi A Biography by Gijs van Hensbergenthis book, be sure to obtain a copy of Gaudi by Pere Vivas Photographer published by Triangle books.The photos are necessary to fully understand the biography.If you prefer only one book, make it the Pere Vivas book. This is a review of the two perfect books to read before you travel to Barcelona to see Gaudi Antonio Gaudi Master Architect, by Juan Bassegoda Nonell Gaudi A Biography, by Gijs van Hensbergen.I approached both books with two questions in mind 1 What about Gaudi s work could have drawn the love and admiration of the Japanese in the way it seems to do At first glance the two traditions seem to have little in common and yet in Japan there has been This is a review of the two perfect books to read before you travel to Barcelona to see Gaudi Antonio Gaudi Master Architect, by Juan Bassegoda Nonell Gaudi A Biography, by Gijs van Hensbergen.I approached both books with two questions in mind 1 What about Gaudi s work could have drawn the love and admiration of the Japanese in the way it seems to do At first glance the two traditions seem to have little in common and yet in Japan there has been a tremendous Gaudi boom I first learned of his greatness only in Japan, and there is probably a lotinformation on him in Japanese than in English And 2 Which are the absolute must sees for an upcoming trip.Both books get a 5 5 for excellent writing I own all of van Hensbergen s work and Bassegoda s writing is absolutely inspired Photography is also stunning So, why the Japanese Asymmetry and a love of curved lines as well as art inspired by the natural forms found in nature is the easy answer God is found in nature was given in one Japanese text the sublime is found in nature I also think the idea of modeling might resonate with Japanese aesthetics Gaudi did not like to work from drawings and relied muchon modeling than many other traditions He did draw and was a brilliant draftsman but Bassegoda stresses the three dimensional focus in his prep work Japanese architecture also tends toward a resistance to straight geometric lines and angles Nature based and following the laws of gravity think of all the rope with bags of metal he used to derive his famous arches this is maybe different from mathematically derived angles and arches we are used to Another surprising link is John Ruskin, William Morris and the arts and crafts movement This is something I would never have guessed as inspiring Gaudi but it seems that, other than Catalunya itself this was one of his major influences And of course, the arts and crafts movement was hugely important in Japan This means beauty follows form A pursuit of abstract beauty was never what Gaudi was trying to do and that is something both Ruskin and Morris especially would have applauded.I wanted to learnabout Sotoo Etsuro, the Japanese sculptor who moved to Barcelona and became the official sculptor of La Sagrada Familia but there was not a lot of information about him in this book Luckily, van Hensbergen described Sotoo workquite a lot in his other book, dedicated to gaudi and the Sagrada can also learn about Sotoo in the movie, Sagrada the Mystery of Creation It is really moving, thanks in great part to the photography According to Sotoo, it is impossible to understand Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia without understanding his faith Van Hensbergen is really excellent in describing what a surprisingly pious man Gaudi was This is something I would not have guessed given the exuberance of the buildings which to me seem sexy and pagan and incredibly colorful But I learned that this was a man whose Lenten fast nearly killed him, whose life revolved mainly around church and his work and who cared deeply for the poor The man I imagined as a Picasso was not so at all maybe he was a bit like Don Quixote 2 So what are the must sees In addition to Gaudi tour, we will see La Sagrada, Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell Gaudi House if we can manage would love to see Crypt and Palau Guell I ve toured many of his pieces The tours providedinsight into the designs and their meaning This book wasa historical account of Gaudi Barcelona Not much text about the process or the inspiration. This was a difficult read for me and I had to put it down for a while and read something else But I returned to it and slogged my way through it It was not until page 186 that I really got into it and was able to follow the narrative flow Like the famous trencad s Modernist style that Gaud fashioned, this book is really a collection of several pieces that abut and sometimes complement each other a survey of Catalan culture and history the best part, in my opinion conceptualizations of Mo This was a difficult read for me and I had to put it down for a while and read something else But I returned to it and slogged my way through it It was not until page 186 that I really got into it and was able to follow the narrative flow Like the famous trencad s Modernist style that Gaud fashioned, this book is really a collection of several pieces that abut and sometimes complement each other a survey of Catalan culture and history the best part, in my opinion conceptualizations of Modernist and Catalanist architecture very difficult for me because I am not familiar with architectural terminology and the author did not make effective use of pictures to complement the work he was describing and a biography of Gaud segments interspersed throughout the book The author admits that there is scant primary material to work from and the hermit like lifestyle that Gaud led makes it difficult to delve into his personal history For me the most difficult part of the book was the author s tendency to toss many names into the mix irrespective of how close or distant their relationship was to the architect Often, the author only used first names and it was difficult to keep track of who was whom It might have helped to have had a list of people involved in Gaud s life van Hensbergen provides a chronology of Gaud s life, but it could have been expanded to include some names Two egregious errors appear and while the author can be forgiven for missing this detail, the editor cannot Especially if the editor works at HarperCollins On page 46 The author chronicles Gaudi s born in 1852 military service, citing his acceptance into the infantry reserves in February 1975 Gaud would have been 125 years old On page 53 he recounts the destruction of the Cistercian monastery Poblet in 1935, but on page 16 he wrote that it was ransacked during in 1835, during the Carlist Wars 1833 1830 There are some other minor grammatical missteps later in the book, but these faults are impossible to overlook or forgive I did not learn too much about Gaud in the end I have been to the Sagrada Familia and I have seen the Casa Mil , and I appreciated some of the context that Hensbergen provides behind these monumental works, but I just wish that it wasclosely interwoven into the telling of Gaud s life It just seemed very disjointed to me Park G ell is perhaps the ne plus ultra Gaud symbol of Barcelona, yet, while we have a basic description of it, the only image we have of it is on the inside front and back covers of the books How disappointing There are many other biographies on Gaud and I will read them This one would not at the top of my list I gave it a three star rating instead of a two, because the author clearly did an immense amount of research and I respect that effort This biography sets out not to be a hagiography of the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaud Towards the end it does become a bit hagiographic waxing eloquent on Sagrada Fam lia s expressive spirituality and framing Gaud s death almost as a near martyrdom Otherwise, Hensbergen does a fabulous job tracing Gaud s life from it humble beginnings through to both its highs and lows I was particularly impressed with how Hensbergen portrays the great architect as a human person blessed with great g This biography sets out not to be a hagiography of the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaud Towards the end it does become a bit hagiographic waxing eloquent on Sagrada Fam lia s expressive spirituality and framing Gaud s death almost as a near martyrdom Otherwise, Hensbergen does a fabulous job tracing Gaud s life from it humble beginnings through to both its highs and lows I was particularly impressed with how Hensbergen portrays the great architect as a human person blessed with great gifts and talent, and as one with its foibles and faults It deserves better illustrations, and in colour, however The black and white drawings in the text are wonderful and does a great job of the reader understanding how Gaud was seen and understood by his contemporaries I bought this in Barcelona in 2005 and it s sat on my shelf ever since waiting for the right time to be read This summer s family holiday to Barcelona and Girona felt the right time It was a dry read and very factual by circumstances a lot of Gaudi s own writings have been lost It gallops through his life detailing his birth, school years and professional life in perfunctory detail and introduced me to some of his works I was unfamiliar with but in terms of understanding the man, identifying I bought this in Barcelona in 2005 and it s sat on my shelf ever since waiting for the right time to be read This summer s family holiday to Barcelona and Girona felt the right time It was a dry read and very factual by circumstances a lot of Gaudi s own writings have been lost It gallops through his life detailing his birth, school years and professional life in perfunctory detail and introduced me to some of his works I was unfamiliar with but in terms of understanding the man, identifying his inspirations and sources it was sadly lacking Would I recommend it No Read a brief online biog then go see his works `DOWNLOAD BOOK ↜ Gaudi: A Biography ☋ At the time of his death in , Antoni Gaud was arguably the most famous architect in the world He had created some of the greatest and most controversial masterpieces of modern architecture, which were as exotic as they were outrageous But little is known about the shadowy figure behind the swirling, vivid buildings that inspired the SurrealistsThis masterful biography brings both man and architect powerfully to life against the changing backdrop of Barcelona and Catalonia Gijs van Hensbergen leads us through the design and construction of Gaud s most significant buildings revealing their innovation and complexity, and demonstrating the growing relevance of Gaud s architecture today