Modernisme & Art Deco Architecture in Spain

Modernisme in Spain
Late 19th - Early 20th Centuries

Unlike the majority of Europe's major artistic and architectural trends, Modernisme is a Spain - or more specifically a Cataluña - original. Sparked by anti-traditionalist Catalán intellectuals, writers and artists who saw Cataluña as lagging behind other European cultures, Modernisme was a movement aimed at totally revamping Catalán culture as a means of getting the society on par with its European neighbors. Antoni Gaudí

Along with often overlooked architects like Lluís Domènech i Monater and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the architectural branch of Modernisme was headed up by Moderniste giant Antoni Gaudí. These architects introduced a brand new, aesthetically appealing trend. Drawing inspiration from a variety of man-made and natural sources, elements were carefully picked and chosen and employed in a free, creative and colorful manner, accompanied by curves, colors, sculptural expression and bold structural arrangements.

Lluís DomenechModernisme incorporates many elements of Islamic and Gothic architecture, Spain's two most outstanding styles, such as spires, ceramics, towers and repeated patterns. Another major source of inspiration was the natural world; you're bound to see organic forms, animals, leaves, trees and more incorporated right into the architecture.

While you can find Moderniste architecture throughout Cataluña as well as sporadic examples in other cities, such as León and Valencia, Barcelona is the Modernisme showcase. Be sure to check out Modernisme sights like the funky Parc Güell, the ondulating Moderniste houses along the Passeig de Gràcia, and the impressive Sagrada Familia church- while it remains unfinished, it is hailed as Gaudí's masterpiece.