The Fascinating Story Behind Brazil's Most Famous Sculpture

The Fascinating Story Behind Brazil's Most Famous Sculpture



Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer Statue   


The statue in Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is called “Christ the Redeemer.” It is one of the most iconic and well-built statues in the world. It is even known as one of the 7 New World Wonders.



It was the statue that Pope John Paul II visited in 1980. It was constructed between 1922 & 1931, being 98 ft high and 92ft long. The statue gets struck by lightning a few times a year! 



What was the statue about?


Christ the Redeemer is a symbol of Christianity. This statue is of a statue of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. There are many statues of Jesus all over the planet, but this is the most iconic.


That is culturally important for Brazil because it is a Catholic Christian nation. It is believed by many as a symbol of protection to the city with its open arms and sky-high location.



Who constructed this statue?


“Christ the Redeemer” was made by French-Polish sculptor Paul Landowski. This statue was first beginning to be built in France by Landowski with clay, not in Brazil.

Gheorghe Leonida, a Romanian sculptor, designed the face of the statue. It was constructed by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot.



Christ the Redeemer under construction



What are the origins of the statue? 


In the mid-19th century, Pedro Maria Boss (the Vincentian priest) proposed putting a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado.


That was to be a symbol of Isabel, the daughter of Brazil’s last Emperor, Pedro II. The monument on Mount Corcovado was not approved until 1921.


By then, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro wanted a Catholic symbol statue of Christ built at Corcovado. 


After the pressure from the Brazilian people on Former President of Brazil Epitácio Pessoa to permit the construction of the figure, the President finally let the building happen. Here came an iconic sculpture.


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