Antoni Gaudí, Christ Among the Doctors

First quarter of the 20th century
Nativity Portal, Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona

Medieval and Renaissance images of the boy Jesus in the Temple sometimes have him sitting in a throne-like chair, as here. But usually he is pictured doing what Luke's gospel says, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46). Instead, Gaudí pictures him as a preacher with his right arm raised and his eyes cast heavenward.

The man on the right is the high priest, as indicated by the breastplate of Aaron on his chest. The scroll at his right hand bears meaningless letter-like glyphs. Picturing the high priest at this event is another innovation of Gaudí's.

On the right a young man (one of the "doctors"?) reacts to the boy's preaching with a gesture that seems to convey heartfelt acceptance.

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.