For the last two weeks, people around the world have been glued to their television and computer screens, wrapped up in the athletic glory of the Rio Olympics. We've been awed and inspired by the athletes proudly representing their respective countries, enthusiastically celebrating them in both victory and in defeat. With the spotlight turned on Brazil, there's no ignoring the most famous example of Art Deco sculpture in the world, Cristo Redentor/Christ the Redeemer.
Like the victorious sports heroes at the top of the podium, Christ the Redeemer, stands majestically at the peak of the Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. With outstretched arms, Jesus protects Rio and its people, while simultaneously beckoning and welcoming to him, millions of annual visitors and devotees.
Its massive size and associated Christian iconography is both awe-inspiring and deeply comforting - Christ's perpetual vigil serving as a daily inspiration of peace and profound reverence.
Designed by the Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with Romanian sculptor, Gheorghe Leonida, who designed the face; and sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski, the colossal statue took 9 years to complete (1922-1931). Constructed out of reinforced concrete and soapstone, it weighs over 600 tons! It is considered to be one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and the largest (and most recognizable) Art Deco statue ever built.
The long lines of Christ's body and outstretched arms, the repeating linear folds of his cloak, the overall simplified, streamlined design and lack of ornamentation, together create a stunning example of classic Art Deco design.
Here is an incredible panoramic look at the statue, captured by a flying drone...