The recuperation of the past, the interest for what’s coming back and reviving to surprise us again with its beauty it’s been a constant issue in history. A clear example of this is the Renaissance, which had the aim to reclaim classical tradition, even though we can find this in different aspects of nature and religions. Thus, the revival has captivated humanity just as it got the attention of the Barcelona where Gaudí lived in.
The revival of Catalan culture is attached to the work of this great architect who left the mark of Catalan history, culture and tradition in all his projects. We can see that in the façade of Casa Batlló, in the sainted glass windows with the flag of Catalonia in the stairs of honor of the Güell’s Palace, in chimneys shaped like medieval soldiers of La Pedrera, in the benches decorated with trencadís in Bellesguard and other examples. However, Gaudí wasn’t the only artist and intellectual who took part in this movement that pretended to recover Catalan tradition and culture. This movement is called Renaixença, which is a Catalan word which means revival.
Casa Batlló Gaudí
The Catalan Renaixença arises in the middle of the nineteenth century with the intention of promoting the use of Catalan in different areas of literature and culture, due to the fact that at that time official documents, big events, legislation, literature, theatre, education and all the aspects of public life where Spanish-speaking and writing.
The context Gaudí lived was a moment of reunion between the present and history and tradition, not only in Catalonia but also in Europe in general. The change in society leaded by the Industrial Revolution was the basis for European countries to look for the origin of the nation and their glory days. Medieval past was claimed as own for many of them and this was the case of Catalunya, where legends and tradition started to be studied and recovered before centuries of darkness.
Gaudí was a master storyteller who like to hide amazing anecdotes behind windows or big stories in a façade full of colors. He invented shapes which harmonized with nature and geometry at the same time. This way, in Bellesguard, Gaudí made an ode to the last king of the dynasty of Barcelona’s Lords. The building is situated next to the ruins of the medieval palace of Martí l’Humà – from whom we preserve a portrait in the altarpiece of the transfer of the relics of Saint Sever in our museum –. Not only the ubication it’s important, also the symbols in the architecture, which pretended to recreate a medieval castle. Thus, we can find a tower with a crown and the Senyera raising to the sky, the great dragon of Saint George is hidden in the shapes of the terrace and the decorative motives of the exterior referring to the rise and fall of the power of the Crown of Aragon. In conclusion, a masterpiece which deals with past and present: the Renaixença of our great architect and the big days of a Kingdom.