The carvings

Allow me to gaze a little longer at this great stone book… I am so delighted to see the set of carvings finished at last! Not a scene is missing! When my life came to an end, only a few of the figures you see here were in their final position.

You should have seen how people flocked to help us… Each and every one of the faces you see here belongs to a person from the local neighbourhood, or to construction workers, who would patiently pose so that the carving would be as realistic as possible. The animals and plants were also real, most of them from somewhere near the construction site. Do you remember the donkey in the Flight to Egypt scene? Her real name was Margarita, and I bought her from a street vendor! The poor creature was so scared that we had to raise her on pulleys to stop her trembling!

I still feel strong emotion when I remember my assistants, Carlos Mani and Llorenç and Joan Matamala, who were father and son. It was their skilled hands and working tools that brought the ideas in my head to life.

But I don’t want to forget all the other sculptors who have worked on the decoration of the church over the years, like Josep María Subirachs. But we will talk about him later, when we come to the doorway of The Passion.

Some of the carvings are from recent times, and are by Etsuro Sotoo, the famous Japanese sculptor who has been working on the Sagrada Familia since 1978. They are the choir of angels and the angels playing instruments on the middle doorway, which were destroyed during the Civil War. If you look carefully, you can easily make out the set of carvings, just above the Nativity of Christ, because they are the ones with the least layer of dirt and pollution on them! Sotoo also designed the four doorways into the church on this side. They will be made of painted aluminium and glass, decorated with plants, insects and small animals from Palestine, the homeland of Jesus.

One final detail: Gaudí designed part of this painted facade because, for him, life was an explosion of colour. The scale model he made in 1910 for the exhibition at the Societé des Beaux Arts in Paris, has been kept. You can see on that the architect and his assistants painted the lowest sections of this façade, where there is the least light, in greens, blues and yellows, while the upper parts were left uncoloured because, according to Gaudí, the sun itself would take care of things. You can view the model in the church museum.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos (2013)

Source: Own work
Author: Carlos Marcos (2013)