Panel 11 

Gaudí and Riudoms

“Nothing in the world has been invented. Flies have been flying for thousands of years; we men have built only aeroplanes until now.”
Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born in Riudoms on June 25, 1852 and was baptised the following day in the Priory Church of Sant Pere de Reus. He began his studies in Reus.

Before he was 6, he had joint rheumatism and a lung condition. The illness made it difficult for him to play with other children; however, this strengthened his capacity for observation. When he was well, he would go for long walks, from Mas de la Calderera, along the Maspujols stream, the ruins of the Roman ovens, to the Monterols road or to the Capellans Aqueduct.

Gaudí used to wear espadrilles made of 7 pieces he bought from his cousin, an espadrille-maker from Riudoms. The sole was made of esparto or hemp fibre arranged helically, which gives it the effect of a spring.

At the age of 11 he alternated his stays in Riudoms with his studies at the Escolapios in Reus, where he studied up to the 3rd year. In 1867 in Reus, with his fellow students Eduard Toda and Josep Ribera, he founded a hand-written magazine called “El Arlequín” in which Gaudí was in charge of the illustrations.

In 1868, he moved to Barcelona to finish his upper school studies. In 1872, he began to study architecture. To pay for his studies, he worked with some of his teachers, such as Josep Fontseré, with whom he designed the water tower for the Cascada and the entrance gate to the Parc de la Ciutadella.

He was a member of the student society Nous Guerrers, followed the debates at the Ateneu, attended lectures on aesthetics and philosophy and often went to the Liceu.

He qualified as an architect in 1878. In 1881, he built the chapel of the school of the French nuns of Jesus and Mary in Tarragona. His first major work was the Casa Vicens, in Barcelona (1883-1885), and his last, the Sagrada Família.

On June 7, 1926 he was run over by a tram. He was admitted to the Hospital de la Santa Creu, where he died on the 10th. In Riudoms, the bells rang for the deceased; in Reus, they did not.

The sculpture of Gaudí going down the stairs of the square of the Church of Riudoms is the work of the sculptor Joan Serramià, descendant of Gaudí of Riudoms.

Gaudí always carried a handful of hazelnuts from Riudoms in his pocket. They reminded him of his village, the farmhouse, the peasants, the people. Gaudí always considered himself a native of Riudoms.

Gaudí’s vocabulary:

What does palcigar mean? What does rebordonit mean? When something became valvé, what does it mean? And xiquet? What is a moixó? And a xupiller? And trastes? And to be very fato? What is rodabasses? What does entrompicar mean? If they say it’s a guino, what do they mean?

Gaudí’s favourite food:

A casserole with good mince. A coca de recapte (savoury pastry) and a coca with egg. A good loaf of bread, spread with local tomatoes and virgin olive oil from Riudoms. And hazelnuts! I always carried a handful in my jacket pocket.