O Christo Redentor


RELIGIOUS UTTERANCES – art of faith introduces the reader to humanity’s historic relationship between art and faith. This daily series of articles examines the interlacing of art and faith from across the Anglican Communion. The title of the series, Religious Utterances, comes from systematic theologian Dr. Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, whose work seeks “a recovery of humanity’s religious utterances through art.”


Seven in a series:

O Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the peak of Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest

Theme: Landmark

O Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) is a large art deco-style statue, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It stands 38 meters high, a figurative representation of Christ in an upright posture with arms outstretched. The statue is located at the summit of Corcovado mountain in Tijuca Forest National Park standing at 710 meters and looking over the city.

In Portugese, this iconic monument is known as Cristo Redentor. The original design of the Christ the Redeemer statue was born by a man named Oswald. He designed it to have a globe in one hand and stand over a pedestal symbolizing the world but the design was not agreed upon. Another proposal for a monument was prepared and made in 1921 by the archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, an event named Seman de Monumento (“Monument Week”) in hopes of attracting donations, which were attained mainly by Brazilian Catholics who readily awaited a design decision for an effigy.

Christ the Redeemer was designed by a French sculptor by the name of Paul Landowski and a local engineer named Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen to supervise the entire construction. The statue was built not out of steel but from reinforced concrete as that was considered a more suitable material for the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers of the landmark were constructed from a mosaic of soapstone because of the materials’ known resistance to extreme weather and also due to its malleability. The Corcovado Railway was the only way to haul the large pieces of the statue to the crown of the mountain and thus was used as an important aide in the project.

Christ the Redeemer was built between 1926 and 1931 and after some time there was also a chapel built at the base of the mountain to house 150 visitors. The monument was inaugurated on October 12, 1931 in an extravagant and grand commemoration. [Source: destination360.com]

On View: Cristo Redentor, statue on Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, by Sean Vivek Crasto. Source: Wikicommons.

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