Parents, Birth, Siblings and Childhood
School Years and University
Influences, Military Service, Personality, Appearance and Youth
Gaudí: a hard worker
The last stage, the old Gaudí and his death
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His school years began in the preschool of teacher Francesc Berenguer, located on the roof of a house on Carrer dels Monterols, in Reus. An anecdote from this time tells how, after the teacher gave a lecture saying that birds had wings for flying, young Gaudí responded saying that the chickens they had at his house had wings but didn't fly; they used them to run faster. At his young age Antoni already showed an uncommonly keen vision.
At age eleven (1863-64 school year) he entered the Col.legi de les Escoles Píes (Pious School) in Reus, located in the ancient convent of Sant Francesc. From this moment on it seems that his intellectual growth was substantial, since he achieved very good grades in Geometry. His "religiousness" probably began there, because every Saturday evening, the Oficio del Parvo de la Virgen was recited. His academic transcript is still kept there. It makes it clear that he was not a genius in school, but with the years of study he made notable improvements, eventually earning some "excellent" grades.
On one occasion, during a visit from old students of the Sant Antoni School in Barcelona to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí himself showed his satisfaction for having been a student of the Escola Pía. In addition, he added that in that school he realized the "value of the divine history of the salvation of man through Christ incarnate, given to the world by the Virgin Mary." He later tried to put these ideas into his greatest work, the Sagrada Familia.
At this time he made drawings to illustrate the handwritten weekly school newsletter and designed the scenes for the school theatre. He made significant physical changes that allowed him to take field trips, on which he greatly enjoyed observing new landscapes.
In 1868 Gaudí moved to Barcelona to study architecture. Before entering the University he took a preparatory course for access to the Provincial School of Architecture, where he had to pass three elective courses. He also had to pass two courses in the College of Science. Once he completed this course, he was able to enter the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (Upper Technical School of Architecture), where the entire degree included an initial course, a preparatory course, and four more years of study.
At the Provincial School, he often missed class, but went to the library frequently. While studying Architecture he also attended Philosophy, History, Economics and Aesthetics classes, because he said that different architectural styles did not depend on aesthetic ideas but on the social and political atmosphere.
Antoni was not an outstanding student, but he was good enough to obtain a solid education of elementary architectural knowledge. His grades were anything but splendid, but there were two "excellent" grades: one in the Trial drawings and design of buildings or their parts (Projects) course. The project was intended to be the entry gate of a cemetery, but Gaudí began by drawing a hearse and some sad characters to create the adequate scene. When the examiner saw the drawing, he thought that he had before him either an insane man or a genius. These descriptors would accompany Gaudí throughout his life. When he submitted this drawing he failed for not having drawn the gate; but in September he received the highest score with a brilliant drawing. He earned the other "excellent" in another Projects course, with a project for the patio of the Barcelona Provincial Council. This earned him the opportunity to apply for an Extraordinary Award, but the Jury decided not to award it.
On February 11, 1878, the director of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura sent the transcripts of four students, Gaudí among them, to the rector of the University, in order for them to be granted the title of Architect. When Gaudí heard, he told his colleague and friend, Llorenç Matamala, that he already considered himself an architect, with a certain air of superiority because he had considered himself an architect since long before.
He lived in two different places while studying, always accompanied by his father and niece, Rosa Egea; they were all his family, since he never married. His mother died shortly after Gaudí began studying for his degree in architecture, in 1876. When he requested the examination of the College of Sciences, he was living in Barcelona, at Plaça de Montcada, number 12, in a store (the House of Patrici Barnusell). The following year his address was at Carrer d'Espaseria, number 10. In 1872, he lived on Carrer Montjuïc de San Pedro, number 16, 4th floor. Later he moved to Carrer de la Cadena, number 22, 3rd floor.