Today’s Google homepage is dedicated to Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, the leader of Catalan Modernism. Born in 1852, Gaudi’s hometown in Catalonia, Spain is rumored to be Reus or Riudoms. An artist of many trades, including ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry, Gaudi’s work was largely influenced by nature and religion, earning him the nickname, “God’s Architect.”
Gaudi’s most famous work is the Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Church located in Barcelona, Spain. While construction on the Sagrada Familia began in 1882, Gaudi did not become involved in the project until the following year. Integrating his gothic designs into the structure, Gaudi was devoted to the project all the way up until his death in 1926. To this day, the Sagrada Familia remains incomplete, but is considered by leading architecture critic Paul Goldberger to be, “The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.”
While much of Gaudi’s work lost its popularity soon after his death, the artist Salvador Dali and architect Josep Lluis Sert are recognized as championing Gaudi during the 1950s. During this same time, the Asociacion de Amigos de Gaudi (Friends of Gaudi Association) was founded to preserve Gaudi’s legacy. Because of his devout Catholicism, an archbishop in Barcelona proposed Gaudi’s beatification in 1998, which was approved by the Vatican in 2000.
Gaudi’s architecture continues to be studied the world over, with seven of his works declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.