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Antoni Gaudí and Salvador Dalí are surely two names you’ve heard of as they have greatly influenced architecture and painting. They both created artwork that was new and significant during their lifetimes, and these two Catalan artists grew to be highly appreciated around the world. Today, they are known as geniuses and linked to the turn of the century’s 19th-20th “Art Nouveau” and Surrealist movements. If you still don’t know of these icons or their works, now it’s time to explore!

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect and the most well-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudi’s buildings are Barcelona’s pride as well as some of the most famous tourist attractions.

Here is a list of must-see Gaudi buildings in Barcelona:

1. La Sagrada Familia is the most famous of his works. La Sagrada Familia is an immense Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona city and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its construction began in 1882 and, as of 2018, it still has yet to be completed! When you visit, you won’t be able to help being absolutely fascinated by its majesty.

Sagrada Familia with stoplight

Photo by Danil Sorokin on Unsplash

2. Park Guell is one of the most important icons of Barcelona. The park was built in 1900 and it combines modernism with stunning views. It took fourteen years of work and it was also a breakthrough of Gaudí If you’re intrigued and want to make sure you don’t miss the must-sees of Barcelona, this Barcelona 8-hour City Tour allows you to learn all about la Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and much more!

3. Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first building and therefore very significant in his career. Gaudí stood out from others by mixing different styles together, which can be noticed in this building. Casa Vicens was built as a summer home between 1883 and 1885.

4. Casa Mila, popularly known as La Pedrera, is a modernist building in Barcelona and it was built between 1906 and 1910. For its uniqueness, artistic and heritage value, it has received recognition and that’s the reason why it’s also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can find it in the iconic Passeig de Gracia, close to another great work by this Catalan artist: Casa Batllo.

Salvador Dalí

He is one of the most well-known artists in the world and he was the genius of the surrealism art movement. Dalí was a multi-talent artist, illustrator, sculptor, author, and filmmaker. Dali’s big break onto the global came in Paris and the United States when he introduced his gorgeous “The Persistence of Memory”. In the following years, his works came to light more and more, as did his very peculiar personality.


Four of the most famous paintings by Salvador Dalí:

Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory

“The Persistence of Memory” (Photo source: Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, https://goo.gl/F1xKof)

1. The most famous work of Dalí is perhaps “The Persistence of Memory”. The rocks on the right side of the picture represent a tip of Cap de Creus peninsula in north-eastern Catalonia. He has taken a lot of inspiration of Catalonia’s landscapes.  Since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

2. Swans Reflecting Elephants is the most famous double image created by Salvador Dali. It is his greatest masterpiece using the paranoiac-critical method and one of the most well-known works in Surrealism. In the painting, you can find how the three swans are reflected in the lake so that they form an elephant. It is painted using oil on canvas.

3. Salvador Dali painted his Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) masterpiece six months before the Spanish Civil War began. The painting reflects his anxiety during the time and predicts the horror and violence in the war. It is made with oil on canvas and it is located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

4. The Great Masturbator was created in the same year he met his wife and is thought to reflect the erotic transformation that the artist felt. The Great Masturbator has sparked a debate. It is currently displayed at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Are you inspired and curious about Salvador Dalí – the artist and the man? Luckily, Spanish Trails organizes two different day tours where you can learn all about him while exploring the places that inspired him! Choose your own: Surreal Cadaqués & All Things Dalí Day Trips, a full day discovering this hometown and visiting his house and museum, or Dalí Museum and Medieval Girona, which allows you to explore the beautiful region of Girona during the second half of the day.

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