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.

symbol-door-2

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).

symbol-door

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.

The Wars of the Roses

As a child growing up in West Yorkshire I knew that a friendly rivalry existed between Yorkshire and Lancashire, our neighbours on the other side of the Pennines. Later on at grammar school I learnt a little about the Wars of the Roses and was astonished to discover that it wasn’t a war between the two counties as I had believed, but a series of battles fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1485 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The name of the battles derives from the symbols used by the two sides:

comtesse d'Oxford
Red Rose  – House of Lancaster
House of York
White Rose – House of York

On moving to Ludlow a few years ago I found out that one of the major battles of these wars took place only a few hundred yards from where I now live. The Battle of Ludford Bridge 12 October 1459. The Yorkist factions gathered here to make a push into Worcestershire, but fell back when they encountered a large group of Lancastrians led by Henry VI. The two sides took up positions on the opposite banks of the River Teme, but many of the Yorkists deserted during the night and the rest retreated the next day. So a victory for the Lancastrians. It is such a picturesque spot now that it is hard to imagine a battle taking place here.