Spain’s eccentric modernist Antoni Gaudí, the architect of architects, not only influenced the face of Barcelona’s architecture, but also left his personal fingerprint on the Cathedral in Palma. In 1899 he was approached by the bishop of Mallorca, and was asked to contribute in its restoration. The bishop was impressed by the clarity of Gaudí’s ideas, and proposed that he take over the management of the restoration project.
The bishop had established links with religious groups in Catalonia, such as the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc and the Lliga Espiritual de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat, both of which Gaudí was a member. This led to him receiving the commission to remodel Palma’s Cathedral, on which he worked between 1904 and 1912.
Gaudí provided a very different contribution to Palma’s Cathedral together with his main collaborator, Joan Rubió i Bellver. His work was related to the predominant role of the Mallorcan Church’s leading members, who wanted to promote Catalan language and culture on the island.
His most important contributions include the furniture and the stained-glass windows, for which he used a new method of giving colour to the glass, testing this technique before implementing it in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Rubió i Bellver continued on as director of the works from 1912.
A giant “wrought-iron chandelier” representing the baldachin, which surmounts the altar symbolising the Crown of Thorns is also the work of Gaudí.
Although the work of Gaudí dominated the Spanish art scene during this time, it was actually the influence of his friend, the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who brought a wave of Art Nouveau style buildings to Mallorca.