I am 56 years old and have recently gained a Master's degree in Garden History at Bristol University. I am a Gaudi fan and have visited Barcelona many times to look at the work of a genius. I am very interested in Gaudi's work as a garden and park designer and creator. The highlight for me was the visit to Can Artigas and I recommend everybody should visit this beautiful and magical garden. It explains a lot, especially  Gaudi's connection with nature and the iconography.


Honourable mention - Category of Short Narrative

Gaudí the Gardener

Stephen w. Coffin

Fig. 1 Ruskin, Studies of leaves. 

Gaudí and Ruskin

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was an English critic and social theorist who became a virtual dictator of artistic opinion in England during the nineteenth century but his reputation was to decline after his death. It is highly probable that Ruskin had a major influence on Gaudí in his political and social ideals and he was certainly known in Barcelona and to Gaudí at the turn of the century.

A leading figure in the revival of Catalan literature, Manuel Milà i Fontanals (1818-84), had been in contact with the Pre-Raphaelites, could have promoted an interest in English aesthetics and it is known that Gaudí attended his lectures.

Fig. 2 Plant sketches by Gaudí ,
(date unknown).

Also Güell, very much an Anglophile, would very likely have returned from business trips in England with news and literature.

It was in 1901 that the first translation of Ruskin appeared in Catalan with a selection of his writings in a cheap popular edition of L'Avenc . This was followed by a more extensive anthology in 1903. These two publications were translated by Cebiá Montoliu who was mainly concerned with Ruskin's natural history and geological interests, dividing the larger books into sections dealing with sky, mountains, stones, water and flowers.

Ruskin was also introduced to the Spanish public, including Gaudí, as a political economist. Sesame and Lilies (1865) was translated into Catalan in 1905 and into Spanish in 1907 and both Unto This Last (1862) and Munerva Pulveris (1872) were available by this time . These works attacked bourgeois England and proclaimed a positive programme for social reform advocating old-age pensions, nationalisation of education and organisation of labour. Unto This Last consisted of four essays that are foremost an outcry against poverty, oppression, the perceived heartlessness of political economy, post-enlightenment thinking and the emerging capitalism. The ideals that Ruskin held regarding the worker's welfare, poverty and the heartlessness of political economic decisions would have gained sympathy with both Gaudí and Güell as was reflected in their project The Colònia Güell.

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