Essential Architecture-  

Christ Redeemer  (statue-Portuguese: Cristo Redentor) (candidate for the new seven wonders of the world)

architect

Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, French monumental sculptor Paul Landowski.

location

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

date

1931

style

Art Deco

construction

Christ the Redeemer is a large Art Deco-style statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue stands 38 m (125 feet) tall and is located at the peak of the 710-m (2330-foot) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, overlooking the city.

type

Monument
 
 
  180° panoramic view from Corcovado
   
As well as being a potent symbol of Christianity, the statue has become an icon of the city, its open arms seen by many as a testament to the warmth of the Brazilian people.

History
The idea for erecting a large statue atop Corcovado had been around since the mid 1850s, when Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss requested financing from Princess Isabel to build a large religious monument. Princess Isabel did not think much of the idea, which was completely dismissed in 1889, when Brazil became a Republic, with laws mandating the separation of church and state.

The second proposal for a large landmark statue on the mountain was made in 1921 by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro. The archdiocese organised an event called Semana do Monumento ("Monument Week") to attract donations, which came mostly from Brazilian Catholics. The designs considered for the "Statue of the Christ" included a representation of the Christian cross, a statue of Jesus with a globe in his hands, and a pedestal symbolizing the world. Eventually the statue of Christ the Redeemer with open arms was chosen.

Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen to oversee the construction of the new monument, to be designed by a French monumental sculptor Paul Landowski. A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowsky's submissions and the decision was made to build the structure out of reinforced concrete instead of steel, more suitable for the cross-shaped statue. Costa and Landowsky decided to make the outer layers of the statue out of Soapstone, because of its malleability and good resistance to extreme weather. The Corcovado Rack Railway proved essential to the building effort, as it was the only way to get the large pieces of the statue to the top of the mountain.

The monument was inaugurated on October 12, 1931, by president Getúlio Vargas in a large, lavish ceremony. One of the highlights of the ceremony would be the lighting system, which was supposed to be switched on by Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, from his yacht in Naples. Poor weather, however, affected the signal strength and the lighting had to be switched on manually by workers at Corcovado.

In October 2006, on the occasion of the statue's 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated a chapel (named for the patron saint of Brazil - Nossa Senhora Aparecida) under the statue. This allows Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings there. Foreign Catholics may be wed at the site if they have the proper papers.

Access

The statue can be accessed by road or by the Corcovado Rack Railway. Until recently, the statue could only be reached from the train terminal via a large 222-step stairway, a huge hurdle for handicapped or elderly visitors. However, in 2002, the monument went through a large renovation process, when 3 panoramic elevators and 4 escalators were installed.

There is also a somewhat arduous but rewarding hiking trail to the summit from Parque Lage park in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood at the foot of the mountain.

The statue is said to have inspired Duke Pearson to write the song "Cristo Redentor," which appeared on Donald Byrd's 1963 jazz album, A New Perspective.

Brazilian Bossa Nova composer Tom Jobim drew inspiration from the statue for his song "Corcovado", and also mentioned it in "Samba do Avião".

 
This Art Deco-style statue of Jesus, which was inaugurated in 1931, stands some 38 meters (125 ft) tall,
atop the Corcovado (“hunchback”) mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. As well as being a potent
symbol of Christianity, the statue has become an icon of the city and a symbol of the great warmth of the
Brazilian people.
The idea for erecting a large statue on Corcovado started in the mid-1850s, when a Catholic priest, Dom
Pedro Maria Boss, asked for financing for a large religious monument from Princess Isabel of Portugal.
She was not interested and the idea died completely in 1889, when Brazil became a republic with laws
about separating church and state.
The second proposal for a large landmark statue on the mountain came in 1921 from the Archdiocese of
Rio de Janiero, which organized an event called Semana do Monumento ("Monument Week") to collect
donations from people all over Brazil.
Designed by the local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski,
Christ Redeemer is one of the world’s best-known monuments. The statue, which took five years to build,
is made out of reinforced concrete, with the outer layers made from soapstone because of this stone
being easy to work with and resistant to extreme weather. The Corcovado Rack Railway played an
important part in the building effort, as the only way to get the large pieces of the statue to the top of the
mountain was by train.
One of the highlights of the inauguration ceremony on October 12, 1931 was supposed to be the
activation of the lighting system by the Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi from his yacht far away in
Naples, Italy. Bad weather, however, affected the strength of the signal and the lights had to be switched
on manually by workers at Corcovado. On January 20, 2003, technology brought another change to the
monument—panoramic elevators and escalators were inaugurated, so it is no longer necessary to climb
up 220 steps to see the statue up close.

links

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