Casa Battlo in Barcelona – part I
It is difficult to plan where to visit in my second visit to Barcelona because there are so many things to see there but I only have 2 days. Gaudi (Antoni Gaudi i Cornet) has left a lot of masterpiece in Barcelona (and only in Barcelona). I was a poor student when I visited Barcelona 17 years ago so the only Gaudi’s site I could visit was Parc Guell because it is free (and it is still free till now) and Sagrada Familia because this unfinished church (it has been built for 100 years and it is still constructing) is great enough to give you a “wow” effect even with just a peek from outside (without the need to buy the entrance ticket). A re-visit to Barcelona gave me a chance to know more about the work of Gaudi more in depth and it is really worthwhile.
Here was our planning for that day. We visited Sagrada Familia in the morning and followed by Casa Battlo in the afternoon. This turned out to be a good arrangement because we have best lighting of Sagrada Familia front view in the morning and when we reached Casa Battlo (with relaxing lunch break in between), it is about before sunset so we can admire the golden time (for photography) at the roof top of Casa Battlo. We initially planned to visit La Pedrera (another work of Gaudi) too but running out of time (not far from Casa Battlo).
This is the introduction of Gaudi’s work in Rough Guide – “The work of Gaudi was never strictly modernista in style..”.
This is what I found about Modernista from www.barcelonamodernista.com. The “Modernista” movement is normally associated with the search for a Catalan identity. Art critics disagree on exact dates, but the movement was roughly active from 1888 (the First International Exhibition of Barcelona) to 1911 (the death of Joan Maragall, the most important Modernista poet). The Modernisme movement was centred on the city of Barcelona, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially the work of Antoni Gaudi, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theatre and painting.
Continue with the description about Gaudi’s work from Rough Guide – “but the imaginative impetus he provided was incalculable. His building are the most daring creations of all Art Nouveau, yet whether an apartment building (La Pedrera), private housing estate (Parc Gueii), or church (Sagrada Familia), Gaudi’s apparently lunatic flights of fantasy are always rooted in functionality”.
The Casa Battlo that I visited is a private apartment. The original apartment building was considered dull by contemporaries, so Gaudi was hired to give it a face-lift and the work was competed in year 1907. Let see how the apartment was transformed. My eye kept staring at the building without moving while my friend hesitated whether we should go in because the entrance fee was at the high side – 16.50 Euro. Thanks to European economic crisis and the Euro Currency was equal to around 1.7 Singapore Dollar at that time and this help us to make the decision quicker. Should not think of so much right in front of such a great work by Gaudi!
It was a bit late while we entered the building so we decided to go straight to the roof top. While on the way, we could not control from stopping ourselves to take a few shots of the building interior from the staircase. I could not believe I were already in the heart of one of the building designed by Gaudi. It did not disappoint me at all.
So we reached the roof top.
I have to use the description from Rough Guide again – “He (Gaudi) contrived to create an undulating façade that Dali later compared to “the tranquil waters of a lake”. There’s animal motif at work here, too: the stone façade hangs in folds, like skin… The higher part of the façade is less abstruse and more decorative, pockmarked with circular ceramic buttons laid on a bright mosaid background and finished with a little tower topped with a 3 three-dimensional cross..”.
Could you see what has been described above based on the following photos I took from the roof top (higher part of the façade)?
I could not find any Dali’s work with the name “the Tranquil waters of a lake”. For top 10 Dali’s painting, here a glance here.
Based on my own imagination, the photo above look like a giraffe with crown.
The image below could be the – “pockmarked with circular ceramic buttons laid on a bright mosaid background and finished with a little tower topped with a 3 three-dimensional cross..”.
I think the image below is the “the stone façade hangs in folds, like skin”..
Managed to capture the magical dark blue movement with the “giraffe” (image below).
After taken enough shots of all the “giraffe” and “animal skin” for almost 1 hour (from sunset to night..) at the rooftop, we decided to go back to the building. We probably have broken the record of longest stay at Casa Battlo’s rooftop among all visitors.
More photos and stories to come in Casa Battlo in Barcelona – part II.