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Subirachs Passion

Roddy Atkinson

Glasgow, United Kingdom

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The Passion Façade of Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Aug 2009.

3 image, 1/250s, +/- 2, handheld from Canon 400D and processed with Photomatix and Photoshop.


The following is a description of the Passion Façade from: -

http://www.fodors.com/

The Passion facade on the southwestern side, at the entrance to the grounds, is a dramatic contrast to the Nativity facade. Josep Maria Subirachs, the sculptor chosen in 1986 to execute Gaudí’s plans—initially an atheist, and author of statements such as “God is one of man’s greatest creations”—now confesses to a respectful agnosticism. Known for his distinctly angular, geometrical interpretations of the human form, Subirachs boasted that his work “has nothing to do with Gaudí.” When in 1990 artists, architects, and religious leaders called for his resignation after he sculpted an anatomically complete naked Christ on the cross, Subirachs defended the piece as part of the realism of the scene. Subirachs pays double homage to Gaudí in the Passion facade: over the left side of the main entry is the blocky figure of Gaudí making notes or drawings, and the Roman soldiers are modeled on Gaudí’s helmeted chimneys on the roof of La Pedrera.

Framed by leaning tibialike columns representing the bones of the dead, the scenes begin at the left with the Last Supper. The faces of the disciples are contorted in confusion and dismay, especially that of Judas, who clutches a bag of money behind his back over the figure of a reclining hound (a symbol of fidelity contrasting with the treachery of Judas). The next sculptural group represents the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and Peter awakening, followed by the kiss of Judas.

In the center, Jesus is lashed to a pillar during his flagellation, a tear track carved into his expressive countenance. The column’s top stone is off-kilter, a reminder of the stone to be removed from Christ’s sepulchre. The knot and broken reed at the base of the pillar symbolize Jesus’ physical and psychological suffering. To the right of the door is a rooster, with Peter lamenting his third denial of Christ “before the cock crows.” Farther to the right are Pilate and Jesus with a crown of thorns, and just above, back on the left, is Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus with the cross after his first fall. Over the center, where Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem (“Don’t cry for me; cry for your children”), is a faceless Veronica—faceless because her story is considered apocryphal, holding the veil with which she wiped Christ’s face, only to find his likeness miraculously imprinted upon it. To the left is a sculpture of Gaudí making notes, the evangelist in stone, and farther left the equestrian figure of a centurion piercing the side of the church with his spear, the church representing the body of Christ. Above are the soldiers rolling dice for Christ’s clothing and the naked, crucified Christ. The moon to the right of the cross refers to the darkness at the moment of Christ’s death and to the full moon of Easter; to the right are Peter and Mary at the sepulchre, the egg above Mary symbolizing the Resurrection. At Christ’s feet is a figure with a furrowed brow, perhaps suggesting the agnostic’s anguished search for certainty, thought to be a self-portrait of Subirachs characterized by the sculptor’s giant hand and an “S” on his right arm. High above is a gold figure of the resurrected Christ.

Couldn’t find the author to credit but the full review makes interesting reading and can be found here:
fodors.com

Artwork Comments

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