IN THE COMMUNITY: The Arts Society Wokingham

Arts Society Wokingham
Jujol's tiled ceiling created by Gaudi

On a cold and dark January evening, members of the Arts Society Wokingham were transported to sunny Barcelona to revel in the ravishing extravagance of Gaudi’s Catalan Modernista architecture.

Live from Andalusia, Dr Jacqueline Cockburn shared her enthusiasm for Gaudi, illustrating her lecture’s theme, Fantasy comes from the ghosts, with glorious images, many of which were her own photographs.

 She explained how Moorish architecture was one of the ‘ghosts’ that inspired Gaudi.

The slender columns and filigree work of the Alhambra and the Islamic ‘muquarnas’ style ceilings feature in many of his buildings.

The influence of Gothic architecture can also be seen in his design of the soaring spires of the Sagrada Familia.

Although drawing inspiration from the past, Gaudi used modern materials such as concrete, stone, steel and glass in his buildings.

His style was truly innovative while embracing the principles of the Art Nouveau movement, using flowing and asymmetric lines and showing great attention to detail by the use of decorative ironwork and woodwork.

 In 1882 Eusebi Guell, a wealthy entrepreneur and friend of Gaudi’s, commissioned him to build a palace, Palau Guell. This was the first of several commissions which culminated in the creation of Park Guell.

This project gave Gaudi full rein to combine his love of nature and his innovative design capabilities to create a hillside community on the outskirts of Barcelona.

It involved collaboration with many other Catalan Art Nouveau craftsmen who specialised in different media. The illustration show’s one of Jujol’s exquisite ceiling mosaics.

 Jacqueline’s love of her subject and wealth of knowledge inspired her audience to look at Gaudi’s work in greater depth.

As one member commented, “I immediately had to look up photographs, notes and guide books of previous visits to Catalonia and Andalusia. Reliving the wonderful sites was a joy and the lecture added a further dimension.”

 The society’s next lecture will be on the work of Eric Ravilious, one of the best-known of Britain’s 20th century artists. It will explore whether his art could have existed without the friendships and social networks which inspired and employed him. The talk will be given by Julia Musgrave, a well-known art historian and streamed live to the society’s YouTube channel at 7.45pm on Monday, February 15.

To find out how to become a member of the society and have access to these virtual lectures, visit TheArtsSocietyWokingham.org.uk

Sue Bryant

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