Hello GT EU Program! My name is Jack Sheldon and I am a rising second-year International Affairs and French student from Atlanta, GA currently participating in this year’s EU and Transatlantic Affairs study abroad program.
A few weeks ago, I enjoyed an awesome long weekend away from Georgia Tech Lorraine in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. Although I did not have class for part of the week, I still had a weekend full of interesting museums and educational tours.
First on the list was the famous Sagrada Familia, designed by esteemed Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi. Did you know that the building has been over construction for over 200 years? The project is publicly funded and has frequently run out of budgeting, while the revolutionary architecture required many revisions and modifications. The building draws inspiration from nature, and is intended to return the church-goer (or tourist!) to the fundamental yet intricate world around them.
Exterior of Sagrada Familia. Notice the Christmas Tree and bird’s nest in the center!
Pictures can’t do it justice- the colors were mesmerizing.
Our second stop was the Picasso Museum in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter. Picasso became somewhat obsessed with one painting called “Las Meninas” by classical Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, and duplicated it over 30 times! In doing so, Picasso experimented with his new cubist and distortive style, but still managed to maintain the integrity of the original. I was especially surprised by how such a classical painting could be so heavily “modernized”.
This is my favorite picture from the Picasso Museum. It shows one of Picasso’s studies of “Las Meninas”, while visualizing the contrast between old and modern with the medieval archway and gallery wall.
Finally, we visited Antoni Gaudi’s first residential project, called Casa Vicens. Located in the north of the city it was originally built as a country estate before being overcome by Example-style (gridded) city planning caused reductions to the estate.
It was amazing to see the level of detail that had been painstakingly restored over the past few decades. I also learned that one of my personal favorite architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of Gaudi’s professed contemporaries. Compare the next two pictures to see the similarities between their two styles.
Front facade of Casa Vicens.
Scale model of Lloyd Wright’s Chicago home project.
In short, I had a great first time in Spain! Being exposed to so much art, history, and architecture allowed me to connect my inspirations and interests to another culture that is so much different than the one back home. Being on the International Plan at GT, I find these experiences invaluable and am so happy to be able to share them with you! Now on to Brussels!