7 new Wonders of the World: Christ the Redeemer
This statue in Brazil has become a symbol of the culture of the Brazilians as a whole. One can literally not mention Brazil and its national symbols without mentioning the Christ the Redeemer statue. At an outstanding 2,310 feet above the city of Rio, the Christ the Redeemer statue still fascinates historians and experts for nearly an entire century. Located on the peak of Mount Corcovado in Rio, the statue stands at a tall 98 feet (approximately 30 meters), and its outstretched arms width at 92 feet (approximately 28 meters). French sculptor Paul Landowski created the design which was later built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa who worked with French engineer Albert Caquot. The face was fashioned by Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida. To this day, it is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture on the planet and is actually the fourth largest statue of Jesus Christ on the planet, contrary to many people’s beliefs. So what makes Christ the Redeemer such a significant global symbol that the statue, indeed, made it to be one of the new 7 wonders of the world?
Symbol of Christianity throughout the world
Though the idea for a Jesus Christ statue was first pitched in the 1850s by a priest, it was until after World War 1 that the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Rio and some locals became concerned by the ‘godlessness’ in Rio. This motivated them to build a large statue of Jesus Christ that would motivate the locals into turning back from their godless ways. This even influenced its placement on Mt. Corcovado for it to be visible from anywhere in Rio. I would say that this strategy worked pretty well because this has become an iconic symbol of Christianity for very many people all over the world. Millions of believers (and non-believers as well) visit this site from all over the world annually. This statue has not only influenced the people of Rio but has crossed over to influencing billions of Christians from all over the world.
Phenomenal artistry in the design
The details in this statue are just breathtaking. Designed in the early 1920s, this statue involved the input of several artists, creatives, and experts that saw it get completed a few years later in 1931. The entire construction cost around $250,000 (approximately $3.5 million 2020 money) which was raised solely through contributions by members of the Catholic church in Brazil. Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa initially had a different design of the cross with Jesus carrying a cross in one hand and a globe in the other, awhile facing the rising sun strategically from the top of the Mt. Corcovado. Eventually, however, da Silva Costa changed his mind and redesigned the statue as it is seen today, with Jesus Christ stretching out his arms wide as a symbol of welcoming all the citizens of Rio, Brazil, and the world as a whole. French sculptor Paul Landowski spent several years designing the Art Deco of the statue by designing them into clay pieces and shipping them to Brazil to be remade with concrete.
One question that baffles many locals and tourists is how did it get there? Such a massive statue on the pinnacle of a mountain. The statue was actually put together on top of the mountain. So all the materials and workers were transported to the top of the mountain to ensure the statue truly lives up to what the locals envisioned. The fact that the project actually went all the way to completion displays the sheer determination that the locals had and how they were such hard workers.