The famous statue of Jesus Christ in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, popularly known as the Christ the Redeemer is designed by French Sculptor Paul Landowski and created by the engineer Heitor da Silva Costa from Brazil, and engineer Albert Caquot from France. The face of the giant statue was designed by Gheorghe Leonida, a renowned Romanian artist. This famous statue is 38 meters tall including the pedestal which is 8 meters. The arms stretch is 28 meters.
The weight of the statue is 635 metrics tons. The statue is located at the Peak of Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. The statue is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone. This statue is a symbol of Christianity across the world. It is also the cultural icon for Brazil.
In the year 1850, the Vincentian priest, Pedro Maria Boss advised placing a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado. This is to honor Princess Isabel who was the daughter of Emperor Pedro II. That time the project was on halt for lack of support as in the year 1889 Brazil became the republic and the church was separated from the state.
Again in the year 1920, the Catholic Circle of Rio proposed a statue by organizing Semana do Monumento. This was to attract donation and also collect signatures to gain support in favor of the construction of the statue. Those days Godlessness in their society motivated them to support the cause. The Brazilian Catholics donated mostly for the cause. There were several design concepts for the statue such as the Christian cross, a statue of Jesus with a globe in his hands, and a pedestal symbolizing the world. At last, the statue of Christ the Redeemer with open arms was chosen.
Heitor da Silva Costa was the local engineer who designed the statute. A renowned sculptor from France Paul Landowski was responsible for the creation of the work. The Christ’s face was portrayed by Gheorghe Leonida who studied Fine Arts Conservatory in Bucharest and Italy and was commissioned by Landowski in the year 1922. This work made Leonida famous all over the world.
After the Landowski’s submissions, a group of engineers studies and they felt reinforced concrete was a better option than steel for the cross-shaped statue. In the outer layer, soapstone are used because of its enduring qualities and easily to use nature. The total time taken to complete to work was nine years from 1922 to 1931, and the cost of the project was US$250,000 which is more or less equivalent to $3,400,000 in 2016. On October 12, 1931, the monument was opened. The grand opening ceremony saw flood lights activated on the site which was supposed to be lit by a battery and turned on remotely 5,700 miles away from Rome. This was designed by Italian shortwave radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi, but bad weather did not allow them to do that.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the statue’s opening, the Archbishop of Rio, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated a chapel which was named after Brazil’s patron saint—Our Lady of the Apparition under the statue on October 2006. This allowed Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings there. On February 10th, 2008 Lightning struck the statue. On this thunderstorm, there were some damages to the statue. After this the Rio de Janeiro state government started restoration work, replacing some of the damages soapstone and the lightning rods. Lightning again struck the statue on January 17, 2014, which dislodged a finger on the right hand.
In the year 2010, a massive restoration began. The out layer soapstone were replaced and the internal iron structures were cleaned. The mortar was also replaced, and other parts of the statue were cleaned. During the restoration work, some Vandals sprayed spray paint on the statue. They were later arrested by the police. This incident was called as “crime against the nation” by Mayor Eduardo Paes.
In the year 2015, 2 Russian explorers m Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov, climbed the statue and took videos and photographs.