The Passion Façade Doors

(The last of my posts about the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona.)

The doors on this side of the basilica are very different in style. Rather like the Da Vinci code two of the double doors are full of mysterious ciphers that I feel one should be able to decode.


All the doors were designed by  Josep M. Subirachs. They took twenty years to complete

For the description of Christ’s passion, Subirachs created single sculptures, sculptural groups and relief letters, and four bronze doors dedicated to Gethsemane’s garden (1995), the Coronation (1997), the Gospel according to St. Matthew and the Gospel according to St. John (2000).


The sculptor wanted all the façade work to be captured in the centre door (2000). For this reason, he decided to reproduce the text of the Gospel illustrated by means of the sculptures, with over 8,000 smelted bronze letters erected ‘like two enormous open books’. The letters have a bronze patina and the repeated letter  is one of the most emblematic techniques he used in order to turn message into a work of art.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

27 thoughts on “The Passion Façade Doors”

    1. If you know your bible stories you could probably interpret them – the four bronze doors are dedicated to Gethsemane’s garden (1995), the Coronation (1997), the Gospel according to St. Matthew and the Gospel according to St. John (2000). I imagine the dates are when each one was finished.

    1. I’m not keen on the Passion facade either, but I do love these doors! And the shape of this side with the ‘bones’ and ‘muscle’ looks impressive. Of course the older parts now really need cleaning so as to blend in with the newer parts.

  1. Those messages do look like puzzles crying out for solutions. They also reference the ancient documents and carvings in lost languages. Fascinating stuff, Jude.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

      1. That sounds good, Jude. 🙂 What an impressive entrance. You have an excellent eye for the little details and you are better informed than most guides anywhere. It’s a pleasure to learn from you!
        Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
        No snow in Norway, what a shame! x

        1. No snow in Norway? Now that’s a surprise – you must have sent it all to the continent! The girls will be disappointed not to be able to make snow fairies 😀

  2. These are amazing, fabulous and give me a headache, not because they’re not impressive, but they have so much information / signage / symbols to digest or decipher. A passionate work, though, done by loving hands. ❤ ❤

  3. What a great post. My daughter lives in Barcelona, so we are beginning to have the chance to take what the city has to offer much more slowly. You have clearly started already!

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