Gaudi and Modernisme: The Walls and Windows of Gaudi’s Crypt

The Modernisme movement in art and architecture reached its zenith during the period from 1888 when Barcelona held its first world fair until 1911 with the death of the poet Joan Maragall. During this period Antoni Gaudi spent most of his time designing the church at Colonia Güell. In this posting we will take a look at Gaudi’s modernisme style by examining the walls, windows and mosaics of the unfinished church that has become known as Gaudi’s Crypt.


The main entrance to the crypt.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.


Hyperboloids, trencadis, arches and window at front entrance portico.

There are a total of 22 windows in the crypt, each encased in a parabola covered with mosaic tiles.


Each window contains a cross plus some fill-in floral design which some people mistake for butterflies.



Three windows below the bell tower in their hyperbolic paraboloids.


Gaudi was interested in the reflective quality of his ceramic tile mosaic which is called trencadis.


The letter “A” stands for the Greek alpha, the beginning.


Gaudi used needles from Güell’s textile factory to produce metal meshes to protect his windows.


Brown bricks represent the earth; black basalt represent tree trunks.


Three windows below bell tower.


The next window over from the previous photo.


Gaudi believed that hyperbolic shapes were best for handling sunlight.

Trencadis comes from the Catalan word meaning “broken.” Gaudi collected discards from factories such as Pujols i Bausis in Esplugues de Llobregat and employed up to 30 people to smash his collected glass bottles and ceramic dinnerware into pieces.


Trencadis above the main entrance to the crypt.


Here are some shots of the stained glass windows from the inside.


All of the windows were made to open.


Four windows, four different angles. The second window is slightly open at the lower left.


The protective mesh made from needles can be easily seen from the inside.


The crypt is still used for religious services.

See here for the monochrome version of the above photo which was my entry for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge 2-35 (bell theme).

Gaudi spent ten years designing the church at Colonia Güell and another six years building the crypt. In many ways he used the church at Colonia Güell as an experimental laboratory for what was to become his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, which, like Gaudi’s Crypt, is still unfinished.

Gaudi was struck by a tram one morning in 1926 while on his way to work at his workshop next door to his La Sagrada Familia. He died three days later. It is hoped that his unfinished masterpiece will be completed by 2026, the hundredth anniversary of his death. Some people, though,  think that 2030 is a more realistic date.

On our seventh and final full day in Barcelona we finally got to visit La Sagrada Familia. My next few postings will be devoted to photos I took when we toured this magnificent structure.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Art, Barcelona, Spain, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Gaudi and Modernisme: The Walls and Windows of Gaudi’s Crypt

  1. disperser says:

    Holy cow on a cracker . . . that’s a lot of mosaic/inlaid pieces.


  2. Rajiv says:

    Wow… These are amazing

  3. Amy says:

    Stunning photos of the architecture!!

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