Musée d'Orsay: Antoni Gaudí Console

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926)
Between 1906 and 1910
Gilded Staff
H. 31; W. 43; D. 22 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / René-Gabriel Ojéda


The last great private work by Gaudí, la Casa Milà in Barcelona was commissioned by Don Pedro Milà Camps, a textile industrialist, and his wife Doña Rosario Segimó Artells. For this monumental construction with a surface area of 1,620 m², possibly inspired by the rock formations of Catalonia, Gaudí produced a free and organic style of architecture. He also designed the interior of the owner's private apartment on the first floor. But Mme Milà, unimpressed by the architect's experiments, on his death, hastened to cover up the fitted decorations he had designed. Some elements, such as this one, managed to survive these alterations.

At first sight, this console, in gilded plaster, like the balconies on the façade, evokes fleshy, supple seaweed. But when turned up the other way, it becomes the Virgin wrapped in her wide cloak, holding the Child. This is certainly not random. We know that the Casa Milà was designed in praise of the Virgin. Moreover an image carved by Calos Mani (1866-1911) would have been placed at the top of the building if the "tragic week" of 26-31 July 1909 had not taken place: this was a week of riots started by Spanish reservists refusing to fight in Morocco, a week marked by anti-clerical violence.

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