The Adoration of the Shepherds. Click to learn more.
The Adoration of the Magi. Click to learn more.
The Trumpeting Angels. Click to learn more.
The Column of Jesus. Click to learn more.
The Nativity. Click to learn more.
The Angelic Hymn. Click to learn more.
The Holy Rosary. Click to learn more.
The Annunciation. Click to learn more.
The Coronation of Mary. Click to learn more.
THE PORTAL OF CHARITY
This part of the portico is devoted to the theological virtue of Christian charity or love and to Jesus.
THE CORONATION OF MARY
Mary, who has merited the privilege of rising to Heaven in body and soul, is crowned as Queen of Heaven. Jesus, portrayed with a beard and long hair, places the crown on his mother's head. She accepts it humbly. Joseph, on the left, and a fourth figure witness the scene.
The Coronation, which follows the Passion of Christ, is the only scene that is not part of the overall time framework of the façade (the early years of Jesus' earthly life).
Behind the group, a band of angels surrounded by flowers sings the Tersanctus in honour of the Holy Trinity.
The Archangel Gabriel has announced to Mary that the Holy Spirit shall come upon her and she will conceive the Son of God. Mary, kneeling before the archangel, lowers her head in acceptance. 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' (Lk 1:38) Once Mary has conceived, the word is made flesh and the prophecy of the first coming of the Messiah is fulfilled.
This image is the first in a series of scenes from Jesus' earthly life in the Nativity façade.
THE HOLY ROSARY
A gigantic rosary frames the groups of the Annunciation and the Singing Angels. The fifteen medals represent the fifteen mysteries included in the Holy Rosary in Gaudí's time.
In addition, the sculptural compositions in the Nativity façade include the five Joyful Mysteries (the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, and the Finding in the Temple) and one of the Glorious Mysteries (the Coronation of the Virgin).
Mary's devotion to the Holy Rosary owes its dissemination to the founder of the Dominican Order, Dominic de Guzmán (1170-1221).
THE ANGELIC HYMN
An angel has announced the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds. Then the voices of a heavenly choir, represented here by nine angels, rise in the angelic hymn: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'
The words of this song of praise are carved in Latin right beneath the angels: 'Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.'The words'glory', 'God' and 'peace' stand out above the rest.
From the humblest of cradles, Mary lifts her child, Jesus, born to redeem humankind from its sins. Joseph protects them both. To their sides are the ox and the mule.
The scene takes place in Bethlehem; Joseph and Mary have gone there from Nazareth to register in the census ordered by Caesar Augustus.
The Christmas tradition of the nativity scene is associated with Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226).
THE COLUMN OF JESUS
This column in the shape of a palm tree is the base for the Nativity scene. A ribbon listing the names of Jesus' paternal ancestors, beginning with Abraham and ending with Joseph's father Jacob, coils upwards along the shaft. It is the genealogy of Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew.
The serpent that tempted Eve in Paradise with the fruit of the tree of life is at the foot of the column. Although it is difficult to see, the serpent still has the fruit of temptation in its mouth. An iron grille wrought by Gaudí as a single piece surrounds the base of the column.
THE TRUMPETING ANGELS
Four trumpeting angels announce the arrival of the Last Judgment. These are the four trumpets of the Apocalypse, the last call to conversion. The instruments are pointing in different directions, representing the scope (land, sea, heavens, light) of the catastrophes being announced.
The Nativity façade makes reference to the Second Coming of the Messiah right after His birth. The same is true of the Song of the Sibyl, a liturgical drama of medieval origin that continues to be performed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, especially in Mallorca.
THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
Three figures of noble countenance prostrate themselves before the infant, who is prophesied to become the King of the Jews. They have reached Bethlehem following a shooting star they saw in the East. Each one of them bears a twofold gift for the child: gold (symbolizing 'alms'), incense ('prayer'), and myrrh ('sacrifice').
THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS
Four shepherds of different ages (one of them a young child) kneel before the Son of God. An angel has announced the birth of the Messiah and they have rushed to adore Him. They bear gifts of food from the land.
This group is placed symmetrically across from the Adoration of the Magi.