Monday, 23 February 2009

Carrer Carolines

12 November. The heavy ironwork door to this entrance hall was ajar when I first passed – the cast shadows drew me in – but was closed when I passed again later on the way back home.

More highly wrought ironwork is to be found further down Carrer de les Carolines, at number 24, Casa Vicens (1883-1888), commisioned in 1878 from Gaudí by tile manufacturer Manuel Vicens i Montaner. The gates and fencing are of cast-iron palmetto leaves, on the window grilles sit small forged-iron dragons, and the further linear forms in the ironwork are inspired by plants and Arabic calligraphy. Casa Vicens is a product of nineteenth century Orientalism (photographs by Frith and Fenton, paintings of Delacroix, Gérôme and Leighton, Flaubert's Salammbô, Burton's rendering of One Thousand and One Nights, Verdi's Aida, ...), Gaudí's study of photographs of "exotic" motifs from the East, and the more immediate influence of Mudéjar architecture.
The ironwork gate of Casa Vicens was not ajar when I passed. It wasn't Saint Rita's Day.

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