Christ the Redeemer - History and Facts | History Hit

Christ the Redeemer

Kyle Hoekstra

09 Sep 2021
Image Credit: David Davis Photoproductions / Alamy Stock Photo

About Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

History of Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) is a 30 metre high statue, mounted upon an 8 metre pedestal, and of course the 700 metre high mountain of Corcovado. It was constructed between 1922 and 1931 from soapstone and reinforced concrete. Today it is a Brazilian cultural icon and global symbol of Christianity.

An earlier proposal for a Christian monument on Mount Corcovada was dismissed after the country became a republic in 1889, when the roles of church and state were separated. However a second proposal came in 1920 from Catholics motivated by the perceived atheism of contemporary Rio de Janeiro.

The proposal attracted donations to support the construction, which came largely from Brazilian Catholics. Designs included a representation of the Christian cross, a statue of Jesus holding a globe in his hands and a pedestal that symbolised the world. The resultant Christ the Redeemer statue symbolises peace.

Christ the Redeemer was created by French sculptor Paul Landwoski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, working with French engineer Albert Caquot. It weighs 635 metric tons. The face of the Christ the Redeemer statue was created by Gheorghe Leonida, a Romanian sculptor living in Paris hired by Landowski.

On the 75th anniversary of the statue’s construction, in October 2006, the Archbishop of Rio consecrated a chapel beneath the statue. The statue was damaged by lightning in 2008 and in 2014, causing damage, while it has also been the focus of recent renovation efforts.

Christ the Redeemer today

The monument is a cultural icon in Brazil and around the world. It’s a popular tourist destination so crowds are often large. On a clear day, the viewpoint atop Corcovado provides an excellent view of Rio.

Getting to Christ the Redeemer

The statue is open most of the day. A choice of train and tour buses make the journey to and from Christ the Redeemer simple, while the entrance ticket is inexpensive.

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