Temple of the Sagrada Familia: The Passion Facade--page 1 (of two pages)

Antoni Gaudí; Josep Maria Subirachs, sculptor following ideas of Gaudí
1882-present; sculptures on this facade begun in 1986

The Passion Facade, facing west (Image from Wikimedia Commons, facade in 2010)

The Church will have three grand fašades: the Nativity fašade to the East, the Passion fašade to the West, and the Glory fašade to the South (yet to be completed). The Temple of the Sagrada Familia is in the shape of a Latin cross. One of the arms of the cross is the Nativity facade, the other the Passion facade. The Passion fašade was built after the project which Gaudi planned in 1917. Gaudí's plan stipulated a portico supported by six leaning columns. This relatively plain facade lacks decoration with emphasis totally on the sculptural groupings spaced along the facade. These sculptures focus on the last days of Jesus' life and are arranged chronologically, moving from the bottom left to the right, then right to left in the middle register, and then back right on the top level--in an enormous "S". The sculptural narrative and characters are striking for their simplicity and drama with angular facets conveying torment and pain.

The lower level

The Last Supper

A dog is included usually interpreted as fidelity (Fido) since this is the moment when Christ recognizes Judas' betrayal.

The Kiss of Judas

The snake, a traditional symbol of Evil or the Devil, is placed behind Judas. The cryptogram contains 16 numbers. "The sum of these, in 310 different combination, always add up to 33, Christ's age when he died" (Expiatory Temple 88).


The Denial of Peter

The three women may suggest the three times that Peter denied Christ. The rooster reminds us of the prediction that Peter would deny Jesus before the cock would crow. The sculptor has conveyed powerfully the shame that Peter feels with the cloth and the pose.


Ecce Homo: Christ presented to the people wearing a crown of thorns


Pilate washing his hands

Go to page 2--Passion Facade.
Return to introduction and index for Sagrada Familia.

Work cited: Josep Maria Carandell. El Temple de la Sagrada Familia. Sant LLuís: Triangle Postals S. L., 1997.
Anonymous. The Expiatory Temple of Sagrada Familia. Dos de Arte Ediciones. Guias Visuales. n.d.

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© 2014 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.