Mixed · Photography

The Redeemer’s Welcome

How to combine two tourist attractions and landmarks in one photo? 

Visit one and photograph the other!

A Wonderful City

The “Christ the Redeemer” statue is the most famous postcard from Rio de Janeiro, and voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A huge statue of Jesus with arms wide open over the Guanabara Bay. I photographed it from the also famous Sugar Loaf, on a very cloudy day. Dense clouds resembling a blanket cozily wrapped around the mountain, a foggy scenario that gives any photographer a more unique capture.

The History

Image via personal portfolio by Luisa Wholley

 The statue was built through the collaborative work of artists from different nations. The artwork made of soapstone tiles was created by French sculptor Paul Landowski, and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot. The face was sculpted by Romanian artist Gheorghe Leonida. Its conception started in 1921 and the grand opening happened in 1931.

The Art Deco style statue is 98 feet tall and the outstretched arms measure about 92 feet. It was placed on the top of the Corcovado mountain, standing 2,300 feet above sea level, and it can be seen from different neighborhoods in Rio, bringing a sense that the city and all Cariocas are being blessed. One may challenge that notion due to serious social, political, and economic issues. Nonetheless, it is hard to deny that the “Marvelous City” has been blessed with natural beauty, famous beaches like Ipanema, and the beautiful rainforest that covers the mountain, making a beautiful base to the statue.

Religion Is Optional

Although the attachment to the predominantly Catholic population in Brazil is obvious, admiring and visiting this landmark is not a matter of faith. Naturally, if you are a Christian, you may feel more rooted in your beliefs by staring at the serene and warm image that the statue represents. However, even if you have a different religion or none whatsoever, you are still going to experience a profound sense of power. The workmanship, labor, and grandeur of the sculpture make an impact on its own.

Imagine all that massive effort happening so many years ago! It certainly makes us wonder how they managed to achieve such an ambitious project without the conveniences of modern times. In the same way that the Egyptians built their pyramids, without any bulldozers and cellphones to communicate with crew members.

Therefore, if you are planning a visit to Rio, make sure to include a visit to the statue. It’s much more of a sin than going to Rome and not seeing the Pope, because the Pope is not standing there, waiting for you. The “Redeemer” is patiently waiting to welcome you. You can access the summit by train or car, but be prepared for many steps to reach the base.

Brazilians always say, “God is Brazilian”. A debatable statement, but the statue certainly helps the people of Rio feel proud when looking up.

Image via personal portfolio by Luisa Wholley

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