Sagrada Família - Table of Contents ....................      Architecture Around the World

Passion façade - Sagrada Família
Barcelona, Spain  

  • Antoni Gaudí  (Pronounced an TONIO gow DEE on the La Pedrera museum English version Audio Guide)
  • Domènech Sugranyes (after Gaudi's death in 1926 until the Civil War in 1936)
  • Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner
Construction: 1882-2026(?)
Façade sculptures: Josep Subirachs - begun 1952
Style: Art Nouveau
Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Passion Façade

In contrast to the highly decorated Nativity Façade, the Passion Façade is austere, plain and simple, with ample bare stone, and is carved with harsh straight lines to resemble a skeleton if it were reduced to only bone. Dedicated to the Passion of Christ, the suffering of Jesus during his crucifixion, the façade was intended to portray the sins of man.

Construction began in 1954, following the drawings and instructions left by Gaudí for future architects and sculptors. The towers were completed in 1976, and in 1987 a team of sculptors, headed by Josep Maria Subirachs, began work sculpting the various scenes and details of the façade. They aimed to give a rigid, angular form to provoke a dramatic effect. Gaudi intended for this façade to strike fear into the onlooker. He wanted to "break" arcs and "cut" columns, and to use the effect of chiaroscuro (dark angular shadows contrasted by harsh rigid light) to further show the severity and brutality of Christ's sacrifice.

Facing the setting sun, indicative and symbolic of the death of Christ, the Passion Façade is supported by six large and inclined columns, designed to resemble sequoia trunks. Above there is a pyramidal pediment, made up of 18 bone-shaped columns, which culminate in a large cross with a crown of thorns. Each of the four towers is dedicated to an apostle (James- below - , Thomas, Philip - below - , or Bartholomew) and, like the Nativity Façade, there are three porticos, each representing the theological virtues, though in a much different light.

The scenes sculpted into the façade may be divided into three levels, which ascend in an S form and reproduce the Calvary, or Golgotha, of Christ. The lowest level depicts scenes from Jesus’ last night before the crucifixion, including The Last Supper, Kiss of Judas, Ecce Homo, and the Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus. The mid level portrays the Calvary, or Golgotha, of Christ, and includes The Three Marys, Saint Veronica, and Saint Longinus. In the third and final level we can see the Death, Burial and the Resurrection of Christ.

- Wikipedia   (8/2010)

Six large and inclined columns, designed to resemble sequoia trunks.

Detail below:


Two details below:

Jesus and Judas

James the Apostle

Philip the Apostle

Two details below:


Veronica and the miraculous facial impression

Soldiers gambling

Burial of Jesus in a cave

Photos and their arrangement © 2009, 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ...

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.