The chapels, solid and elegant construction, are an invitation to ascensionality. This multiplicity of devotional chapels fills up with scenarios, through the imaginary painting, with an ornamental intention and an catechetical and pedagogical language, motivating believers to living in a intense way the «dramatization» of Christ’s passion, through an mystical, apologetic and allegorical mensage. In all of that we are invited to integrate the scene, with aid of scenes in natural size.
In the end of 14th century, when the shrine suffered profound remodeling works, almost all chapels was changed, as well as their sculptural ensembles, on the exceptionof the last supper, garden and resurrection chaples.
The Bom Jesus, without relying on the basilica, is composed by 19 chapels arranged
irregulary in the coast of the mountain hill (in the past called the Santa Cruz mountain hill) and connected with each other by graceful and monumental stairs. 14 chapels closed the steps, the route and the scenes of passion and dead represented for sculptural groups, and the last 5 related with the glorious life and the triumph of the resurrection.
Because of the many reconstruction and amplifications the chapels order it’s not exact, taking into account, obviously, the logical order of the painfull via.
After the portico, Após passar o pórtico, the curving staircase are marked for chapels that represent christ’s passion life episodes. The figures, almost in natural size, are given in a naïve realism and an pronounced dramatic intent.
In the first staircase we found the first’s foursquare chapels of via-sacra, with four-water roofs, having acess by portal in perfect back arch torn, and in the side facades, by glasses. The first one is the The last supper chapels, representing the cenacle, date in the begging of 18th century, in the south side, of square plant and an cupola in the shape of a triangular pyramid. It also houses the sculptures of the primitive figured and sports, pendant of the cornice, the crest of its founder D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles.
This is the first mass chapel. From this, the apostles and their successors will celebrate until the end of the times, fulfilling the mandate of the lord. Inside, the Bom Jesus is sitting at the table with 12 apostles, in the act of the institution eucharistic, central mystery that bases the faith, after have washed their feet in a gesture of lots of love nad profound humility. To your left side the evangelist apostle S. João, reclined on the chest, and at the end of the table Judas, the traitor.
The full table is covered with food, with bread and the cup in the center of the panel, opening the way to the eternal life.
About the arch door, an inscription relating to the represented step: «CAENA FACTA ACCEPIT IESUS PANEM ET AIT: COMEDITE HOC, ST CORPUS MEUM», that mean: «finished the supper, Jesus took the bread and said: eat, this is my body».