The Starting Point of the Arabic-Andalusi Influence in Gaudi’s Ornamental Ceramic

The Pavilions Güell (1884-1887)

Keywords: Antoni Gaudí, trencadís, ceramic mosaic, Catalan modernisme


Between 1884 and 1887, Antoni Gaudí built two rather modest constructions for his patron, Eusebi Güell: a stable for the horses and a porterhouse for his country house in Les Corts. In these constructions, he makes an important step in relation to his previous works, El Capricho (Comillas, Santander) and the Casa Vicenç (Barcelona). The tiles used in both, featuring lines of color that contrast with the brick and stone, derive from an original system of using ceramic, the trencadís. He takes as a reference point the Arabic or Mudejar building system to embed ceramic pieces in the walls and in the coronation railings of the buildings, but adds a brilliant contribution by converting it into “broken” ceramics. We call this ornamental resource trencadís, since trencar means broken in Catalan. This technique is one of Gaudí’s more significant decorative choices with brilliant examples of this being the façade of Casa Batlló and the dragon and banc-balustrade in Park Güell. 

Author Biographies

Mireia Freixa, University of Barcelona

Mireia Freixa is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Art History at the University of Barcelona and member of GRACMON, Research Group of Catalan Art and Design Contemporary. She is also member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. Her research topics are the artistic production of Catalan Modernisme—the Catalan Art Nouveau—, especially with regard to the history of architecture and the applied and decorative arts, the study of the sources of history of art, and the review of the discipline from a gender perspective. 

Marta Saliné, Research Group of Catalan Art and Design Contemporary (GRACMON)

Marta Saliné i Perich presented her PhD, El mosaic Modernista a Catalunya de 1888 a 1929 in 2015. She is an expert in ceramic art applied to the construction during the Modernista period. She has worked in different professional fields such as research, education, heritage conservation of museums and archives. Between 2001 and 2015, she was the curator of the Museus de Ceràmica d’Esplugues de Llobregat and now she is an independent scholar and collaborator of GRACMON UB. 

How to Cite
Freixa, M., & Saliné, M. (2022). The Starting Point of the Arabic-Andalusi Influence in Gaudi’s Ornamental Ceramic: The Pavilions Güell (1884-1887). Manazir Journal, 3, 131–144.