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Gaudi: A Biography Paperback – 4 Nov 2002
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‘This book is written with immense sympathy and understanding for Gaudí himself and his work, but also for the cultural and political background. In its scope and ambition, its clarity and its feeling for the period and the personality, this book is the most definitive book on Gaudí which has yet been produced.’ Colm Toibin
'It is rare for the biography of an architect to be so human and so humorous. Gijs van Hensbergen has managed to recreate in his book that same combination of playfulness and seriousness which characterises Gaudí, and Barcelona. His infectious enthusiasm is conveyed through vibrant and witty prose. Altogether a delight.' Paul Preston
From the Back Cover
"This is a tale of murdered prostitutes and exhumed nuns, of still-born babies and live chickens cast in plaster, of patches of skin removed without anaesthetic from young men, of cholera, alcoholism, riot arson and death-by-tram, at the centre of which there is a celibate, vegetarian, devout man who liked lettuce dipped in milk for lunch…
For many Gaudi's unique architecture 'is' Barcelona. But little is known about the shadowy figure behind the swirling, vivid buildings that inspired the surrealists. Contemporary accounts describe an effete dandy who dressed like a tramp, a revolutionary patriot arrested in a pro-Catalan riot dressed like a tramp age 73, and a hermit who chose lifelong celibacy, rejected by the woman he loved. This masterly biography is the first to untangle his paradoxes, bringing the obsessions of both man and architect powerfully to life, against the changing backdrop of Catalonia.
"A terrifically stirring biography…van Hensbergen animates ideas with narrative drive. Buildings are his characters."
'New York Times'
"'Gaudi' brings vividly alive for the first time the Catalan cultural and political background that is the key to understanding Gaudi"
"The most definitive work on the architect"
"A soaring biography, meticulously researched, elegantly organised, fluidly and lucidly written"
"At the end [of reading 'Gaudi' I felt like jumping on a jet to Barcelona, imagination at full stretch, rosary in hand"
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This is the first biography I have read on Antoni Gaudi. I don't regret reading the book, but I can't help but think that there must be a better biography of this great architect.
If you do read Van Hensbergen's book, I recommend that you have beside you a copy of "Gaudi Complete Works" by Isabel Artigas. "Complete Works" focuses on Gaudi's architecture and contains excellent photographs of his buildings. The photos in "Gaudi A Biography" will not make you aware just how rich, enormous, detailed, organic and important the work of Antoni Gaudi is and always will be.
I would not hestitate to recommend this book and indeed the seller as well with my highest praises.