Brazil: statue of Christ the Redeemer restored

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro image: LdS

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro image: LdS

The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro's white beaches, is back in full view after being covered in scaffolding for a four month renovation project. On Wednesday night it was bathed in green and yellow light to honour Brazil's national football team playing in the World Cup.

Completed and funded by public donations, in October 1931, the 125-foot (38-metre) statue is believed to be the largest art-deco statue in the world. Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue; it was sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski. A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowski'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. The outer layers are soapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities and ease of use. Construction took nine years.

In October 2006, on the statue's 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated a chapel, named after the patron saint of Brazil: Nossa Senhora Aparecida,  'Our Lady of the Apparition' ,  under the statue. This allows Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings there.

The statue was struck by lightning during a violent electrical storm on Sunday, February 10, 2008 and suffered some damage on the fingers, head and eyebrows. A restoration effort was put in place by the Rio de Janeiro state government and archdiocese, to replace some of the outer soapstone layers and repair the lightning rods installed on the statue.

On 7 July 2007, Christ the Redeemer was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a list compiled by the Swiss-based The New Open World Corporation.

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