Senior Capstone Experience by Lori Wysong ’19
Submitted to the Department of History
Advised by Dr. Clayton Black
Description: “Antoni Gaudí’s unique architecture draws tourists from all over the world for the sake of its aesthetic and structural qualities. While many art historians such as Joan Bassegoda Nonell and George Roseburgh Collins have examined Gaudí’s life, training, and innovations, few historians have studied how this significant architect’s career and artistic vision was in dialogue with the political and religious currents during the time he was alive.
“This paper focuses on the intentions of Gaudí in creating his designs, and how these were impacted by larger trends in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Spain, looking chiefly at Catalonia. Specifically, the analysis of this paper pays attention to the interconnectedness of industrialization, the rise of the middle class and Catalan nationalism, the religious justification and condemnation of these secular movements, and how Gaudí was distinctly impacted by each.
“Gaudí is often referred to in passing as a deeply pious man, or an avant-garde modernist who rejected all past architectural forms. Many of his patrons have been examined for their partisan affiliations, but Gaudí and his work are generally assumed by tourists and even some scholars to transcend the political. This paper seeks to prove that, even in his more rebellious youth or his ascetic later years, Gaudí’s actions and designs were motivated by a sense of deep regional pride and political conservatism that manifested itself in designs for laborers and the religious as well as those for the bourgeoisie. “