One of the first things we always explain to the people who come to visit our basilica is that it is a temple of Catalan Gothic style.
Catalan (or southern) Gothic has its own characteristics that differentiate it from other European territories. One of them is that the building has little sculptural decoration, both inside and outside, and the one that is concentrated in very specific places: the entrance portals, the interior capitals of the nave and the vault keys. This ornamental sobriety helps to highlight the formal purity of the church and makes it more solemn and majestic to the eye.
With all this, we do not overlook the quality of the sculpture of the vault keys of the nave, perhaps the most beautiful in the city.

The eight vault keys that crown each plot of the church and stabilize the roof represent scenes related to the Virgin, our holder, except the vault key of the presbytery, which represents Christ in Majesty surrounded by the tetramorphic. This is also the largest of all, reaching 2.05 meters in diameter.

The others, starting from the presbytery to the entrance, stage the Annunciation (section 1), the Nativity (section 2), the Epiphany (section 3), the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (section 4), the Three Marys before the Sepulchre (section 5), Pentecost (section 6) and finally, the Coronation of Mary (section 7).

Many of the vault keys have the coats of arms of the Royal House of Aragon, Barcelona and Pi sculpted on the trunk by the two bands.
Our keys have had to go through many vicissitudes: during the siege of 1714 one of the bombs that were fired at the city fell on the roof and as a result part of the vault of the apse collapsed and destroyed the magnificent Renaissance altarpiece of the High Altar. They were then whitewashed and repainted for the feasts of the beatification of St. Joseph Oriol (1806) and during the destruction of 1936, the heat caused by the fire affected the entire roof and cracked several of them, which were later re-painted. In the museum of the basilica you will be able to see some fragments and you will notice that they conserve the original colors of the XIV century. For this reason, we explained earlier that most of them have lost their original polychromy, except for the keystone of the Annunciation vault, which even preserves part of the decoration of the plementation that had been painted around it. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s a different color than the rest.
Our basilica contains many small treasures. All you have to do is lift your head and open your eyes wide to admire them.

Albert Cortés