Saturday, November 14, 2009

Building on Nature - Rachel Rodriguez

The Life of Antoni Gaudi
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Henry Holt & Co., 2009
32 pages
Rating: 4.5
Endpapers: Mustard, with lighter colored stenciled pomegranites and vines
Author's Note

Antoni Gaudi was an architect, born in 1852, that devoted his career to the city and surroundings of Barcelona at the turn of the century. Apparently, these magnificent creations are the number one tourist draw to that city. I wonder if you can make it as a tourist there with no Spanish?

This was all new information for me. Fascinating, spellbinding information. I've spent a couple of hours online since reading the book, looking up photos and more information (some links can be found at the end of this short review). Gaudi had an unbounded, creative enthusiasm for line and swoops and thinking outside the box-of-the-norm, creating from nature and the world around him. Apparently, he was even somewhat of an ecologist, reusing materials. Mosaics! Glass! Swooping metals. I really must go to Barcelona now. Never had any desire before this......

I have quite a fondness for Julie Paschkis' illustrations in both Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal and Night of the Moon -- and I do enjoy the illustrations in this book.....but I don't think they quite do justice to the fantastic architectural achievements of Antoni Gaudi.

"Gaudi's buildings curve and arch. They sparkle and glitter and whisper with joy."

His first big project, as described in the book, is the Vicens House (Casa Vicens). There's a photograph of it here. Wow. There are some great photos of the crypt at Colonia Guell here. And check out the incredible design of Casa Batllo here and here (this site is quite something, even accompanied by music). You can see the waves and swells of Casa Mila here, and take a tour of the unbelievable Park Guell here. And Gaudi's ultimate Holy Family Church can be seen - from many different angles- here.

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