The most particular church in Europe, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is the emblem of a city that feels unique. Full of nature-inspired symbols and striving to be original, it is Gaudí’s greatest work. In 1883, one year after the construction of a neo-Gothic church began, the task of finishing it was assigned to the architect, who changed everything, improvising as he worked. He made it the work of his life and lived alone here for fourteen years. When he died, only one tower on the Nativity façade had been completed, but many others have been completed following his original project. After the civil war, the work was resumed and continues to this day, thanks to public contributions.
Sagrada Familia is the emblem of a city that feels unique.
Sagrada Familia finished
Gaudí’s original ambition had to be sustained with the use of new technologies to carry out his vision. The central tower is still to be built, surrounded by four large towers representing the evangelists. Four towers of the facade of Glory united with the four already existing of the facade of passion and nativity. A pedestrian crossing will be like a cloister from the inside out and will surround the outside of the church.
Facade of Passion
The suffering and death of Jesus are related issues on the facade of passion with a style appropriate to the theme. The images created by the Catalan sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs received criticism for their rectangular appearance, devoid of humanity, but it is likely that Gaudí approved them when the expressionist style began to attribute a greater impact to the passion of Christ.
A large porch with a roof supported by six “tree trunks” protects the twelve groups of sculptures, distributed in three groups and must be appreciated from the bottom up and from left to right.
The first scene, in the lower left, portrays the last supper, an event in which Jesus, standing, announces the betrayal of one of his disciples and then the betrayal of Judas is seen. In all directions the sum of the cryptogram numbers next to Jesus is 33: the age at which Christ died.
Facade of the Nativity
The north facade, with views towards Marina Street and finished under the supervision of Gaudí himself, is much more full of images than the facade of passion, to the point that some sculptures just look alike, making identification difficult. Many natural elements add to the images, which makes the interpretation a more arduous task. Gaudí wanted the images to be colorful, but it was very difficult for his project to be approved.
The sumptuous decoration of the facade is distributed around three doors: Hope, Faith and Charity.
The lower details portray the fugitive messages to Egypt and the massacre of the innocent. Above the door, San Joaquin and Santa Ana, Maria’s parents, observe the images of Joseph and the baby Jesus.
This door addresses passages from the gospel and Christian theology. The representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands out in the lintel that covers it.
A column with a genealogy of Jesus separates the double door of Charity. The wise men appear in the lower left, in front of the pastore, a nativity dinner.