We left Burgos on Monday March 6, heading north to Santillana del Mar, our base for a full day of paleolithic cave viewing on Tuesday. Something I had planned the entire trip around- when the caves would be open for tours.
We also planned to see El Capricho, the second home Gaudi built/designed for a private benefactor located in the beach village of Comillas about an hour east of Santillana. It was a gray day which affected the visuals because Gaudi is someone to see in full sun so that the intense vibrancy of the colors pop. Anyway it wasn’t that type of day but Gaudi goes way beyond just color and light.
Having viewed the cathedrals, basilicas and monasteries in Avila, Segovia, and Burgos with those soaring flying buttresses, and stained glass windows fitted to a triangle atop a long rectangle filled with stories of the saints and their martyrdom, I had begun to faintly detect architectural motifs that ran through these Romanesque/Gothic/baroque Cathedrals and I saw it translated into modern art in El Capricho.
What I saw and felt as I toured about the exterior and the interior was how Gaudi marries his deep faith in God, Christianity, the Catholic church and its miracles with his faith in nature and the forms made with his scholastic knowledge of classic Greek and Roman architecture. The columns that support the portico are classic Doric style until you see the birds carved into the stone.
The house, the rooms, the Conservancy are all symmetric and geometric and Parthenonish in style, but then veer off to the whimsical, surreal and mystical in the winding staircases, and the porcelain tiles of birds bees and twisty vines.
It is in every sightline from every orifice, window and door. I play a game with myself. What happens if I look up? Oh my goodness a carved wooden rosette ceiling. What happens if I look through that portal? or I stand on that balcony amid the wrought iron and look at the house completely covered in yellow daisies?
I like the way the white iron wrought chairs are placed in the garden. so stark with only flower buds emerging. I imagine in summer it must be a panoply of colors, but also too many people. I would not be able to handle the muddled sightlines. This was perfect.