Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the engineer Heitor da Silva Costa Brazil in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot.
The statue weighs 635 tonnes (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city.
A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. The statue, made of reinforced concrete clad in a mosaic of thousands of triangular soapstone tiles, sits on a square stone pedestal base about 26 feet (8 meters) high, which itself is situated on a deck atop the mountain’s summit.
Over the years it has undergone periodic repairs and renovations, including a thorough cleaning in 1980, in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Brazil that year, and a major project in 2010, when the surface was repaired and refurbished.
Escalators and panoramic elevators were added beginning in 2002; previously, in order to reach the statue itself, tourists climbed more than 200 steps as the last stage of the trip. The design evokes beauty.
The statue is art deco modern but approachable and inviting as a religious figure. The construction materials are light-colored, readily reflecting light from the sun, the moon, and surrounding spotlights.
The face of the statue was created by Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida, who was born in Galati, Romania, in 1893. He studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Conservatory in Bucharest, then, after three more years’ study in Italy, he won a prize for the sculpture Reveal.
After that he moved to Paris, where his work, Le Diable, was awarded the Grand Prix. Becoming famous in France as portraitist, he was included by Paul Landowski in the team that started working on Christ the Redeemer in 1922.
To celebrate Christ the Redeemer’s 75th anniversary in 2006, a chapel dedicated to the patron saint of Brazil (Nossa Senhora Aparecida) was built at the base. The statue was struck by lightning during a violent thunderstorm on February 10, 2008, and suffered some damage to the fingers, head and eyebrows.
A restoration effort was put in place by the Rio de Janeiro state government to replace some of the outer soapstone layers and repair the lightning rods installed on the statue.
The four-month restoration in 2010, focused on the statue itself. The statue’s internal structure was renovated and its soapstone mosaic covering was restored by removing a crust of fungi and other microorganisms and repairing small cracks.
The small Chapel of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (2006) at the base of the statue hosts weddings, baptisms and Mass on Sundays. There is a cafe near the statue.
Many of these statues can be found in other places around the world but there’s definitely none like the one located at Rio de Janeiro. The monument is accessible by road and a cog railway (3.8km), which provides fine views along the way.