The Christ the Redeemer Statue - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer statue is an Art Déco style statue at the top of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Christ the Redeemer Statue is a Christian symbol and a cultural icon in Brazil. It is also listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Design of the Statue

The statue, which depicts Jesus Christ with stretched arms, was designed by Paul Landowski, a French sculptor and built by an engineer from Brazil by the name of Heitor da Silva Cost. Its face was fashioned by Gheorghe Leonida, a Romanian sculptor. The statue measures 98 feet tall, excluding the 26-feet pedestal. The horizontally stretched arms span 92 feet wide and weigh around 635 metric tons. The statue is made from reinforced concrete and triangular soapstone tiles. It sits on a stone pedestal which is approximately 26 feet high. 

History of Construction

A suggestion to build a Christian monument on top of Mount Corcovado in honor of Princess Isabel was made in the mid-1850s. However, the proposal died off due to lack of support. The country was aiming for a separation of church and state. In 1920, the Catholic Circle made a second attempt to have a monument build on the mountain as a landmark. Thanks to fundraising organization and a signature seeking event called “Monument Week” to support the erection of a statue. The organization was motivated by what they considered as growing Godlessness in Rio de Janeiro at the time. Several designs including representation of Christian Cross and Jesus carrying a globe in His hand among others were considered for the statue. However, the statue we know today was chosen. The construction work took nine years to be completed from 1922 to 1931 at a cost equivalent to $3.4 million in 2016. It was officially opened on October 12, 1931.

Restoration of the Statue

Rain and wind have worn away part of the statue’s stone tiles necessitating its repairs and renovation. Several periodic repairs and renovations have been carried out on the statue over years including a major cleaning in 1980. Several escalators, walkways, and elevators were installed in 2003 to facilitate easy access to the platforms surrounding the statue. A chapel was built at its base in 2006 to mark its 75th anniversary. In 2010, its restoration was part of the preparation for World Cup games and it involved removal of a crust of fungi and the repair of cracks and the lighting system. The strong wind and erosion, as well as lightning strikes, have necessitated its regular maintenance. The statue is likely to be darker in the coming years since the original pale stones used in its construction have diminished in quantity and the replacement and the restoration work is being done by the darker stones.

The Statue as One of the "Seven New Wonders of the World"

In 2007, the statue was included in the final list of the Seven New Wonders of the World after it was voted for overwhelmingly. Over 100 million people took part in the voting for the final list of seven from an initial list that included 21 finalists. The competition was sponsored by New Open World Corporation.


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