Etsuro Sotoo

Former Chief Sculptor at the Sagrada Familia

Etsuro Sotoo is the former Chief Sculptor at the Sagrada Familia and a visiting lecturer at Kyushu University User Science Institute, School of Engineering Main Building. He is also an ambassador for Kesennuma, Rias Sanriku (Japan), and the vice-president of the Nipon Centre in Canet de Mar.

Etsuro Sotoo’s admiration for Antoni Gaudí led him to convert to Catholicism. His major works are his sculptures for the Sagrada Familia. After visiting Barcelona in 1978 and being amazed by the Sagrada Familia, he asked to work as a stonecutter and was hired after proving his worth. Since then, he has worked on the Nativity facade, following Gaudí’s instructions. His extensive study and tremendous admiration for Gaudí culminated in his conversion to Catholicism at the age of 37. In his native Japan, he is known as the “Japanese Gaudí.”

His notable sculptures for the Sagrada Familia include 15 groups of sculptures for the Nativity facade, with figures of angel musicians, as well as the fruit baskets that crown the church’s pinnacles. He also designed the polychromed-aluminium and glass doors, decorated with plants, insects, and small animals, for the Nativity facade. Sotoo has been commissioned to restore the sculptures on the Porta del Rosari that were damaged in the Spanish Civil War and is working on the design of the tubular bells Gaudí planned for the bell towers on the three facades of the church. Additionally, he aims to restore the sculpture Gaudí designed to crown La Pedrera.

Related projects

Current research projects

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