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

2009, 2015 photos
Nativity 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: J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and  Josep Subirachs 
Style: Art Nouveau
Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Constructed between 1894 and 1930, the Nativity Façade was the first façade to be completed.

Dedicated to the birth of Jesus, it is decorated with scenes reminiscent of elements of life. Characteristic of Gaudí’s naturalistic style, the sculptures are ornately arranged and decorated with scenes and images from nature, each a symbol in their own manner. For instance, the three porticoes are separated by two large columns, and at the base of each lies a turtle or a tortoise (one to represent the land and the other the sea; each are symbols of time as something set in stone and unchangeable). In contrast to the figures of turtles and their symbolism, two chameleons can be found at each sides of the façade, and are symbolic of change.

The façade faces the rising sun to the northeast, a symbol for the birth of Christ. It is divided into three porticoes, each of which represents a theological virtue (Hope, Faith and Charity). The Tree of Life rises above the door of Jesus in the portico of Charity. Four towers complete the façade and are each dedicated to a Saint (Matthias the Apostle, Saint Barnabas, Jude the
Apostle, and Simon the Zealot).
- Wikipedia   (8/2010)

The Nativity Facade on the east side, dedicated to the birth of Christ, was completed before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudi influence.

The birth of Christ is depicted in the center, with the Adoration of the Magi on the left and the Adoration of the Shepherds on the right. Above is the Annunciation and Coronation of the Virgin Mary.

High on the Nativity Facade us a spire with a cypress tree, symbolizing the tree of life. At the foot of the tree is a pelican and angels holding chalices, symbols of the Eucharist. At the top of the tree is a red Tau cross with an 'X' representing Christ's name and a dove representing the Holy Spirit.

The bases of the facade contain sculptures of turtles, symbolizing the stability of the cosmos. The one closer to the sea is a sea turtle; the one closer to the mountains is a land tortoise. Gaudi was a true nature lover and spent much time studying it in the countryside.

2009, 2015 Photos

2009, 2015 photos
Upper scene: Nativity
Lower middle: Joseph Holding Jesus
Lower left: Fight Into Egypt
Lower right: Slaughter of the Innocents

Left: The Flight to Egypt
Center: Joseph Holding Jesus
Right: Slaughter of the Innocents

Details below:


The Flight Into Egypt

Slaughter of the Innocents ... Two details below:

Detail: Slaughter of the Innocents

Details below:

Top: Annunciation
Middle: Star of Bethlehem
Bottom: Nativity
Details below:



Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Photos and their arrangement © 2009, 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
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