978-0-394-58027-2 / 9780394580272






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About the book:

Under Franco's regime, it was declared as gospel truth that Madrid and Old Castile were the spiritual and cultural heartland of Spain, and peripheral cities and cultures of the Iberian peninsula must bow to that truth. Barcelona, however--la gran encisera, "the great enchantress"--always saw things rather differently. The earliest area of Spain to be colonised by the Romans, the capital of Catalonia is fiercely independent, somehow Spanish and not-Spanish, and most mysteriously of all, has been at the forefront of modernity, especially modern art and architecture, ahead of any other European city you could name with the possible exception of Paris. It is this Barcelona that fascinates Robert Hughes most, and he in turn fascinates us with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the place. He thrillingly evokes the cosmopolitanism and openness of Barcelona--qualities, he says, that derive inevitably from its status as a great Mediterranean port. And he is brilliant on perhaps the most exciting modern architect of all, Antoni Gaudi, the creator of the (still unfinished) Church of La Sagrada Familia, now as much an icon of the city as the Opera House in Sydney or the Statue of Liberty in New York. -- Christopher Hart

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