Why Is the "Christ the Redeemer" Statue Important?

Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is an important icon of Brazilian Christianity, and it has also come to symbolize Rio. It is the fifth largest statue of Jesus in the world, and was also at one point the world's tallest Art Deco statue. In 2007 it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Christ the Redeemer is depicted with arms flung open, a pose that symbolizes peace while also evoking Christ's crucifixion. Financed by Brazilian Catholic groups and designed by engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was constructed between 1921 and 1930. The body was sculpted by a Polish-French sculptor named Paul Landowski, and the face was created by the Romanian-born Gheorghe Leonida. The statue is 98 feet tall, weighs 635 tons and is made of soapstone and reinforced concrete.

It was rated the largest Art Deco statue in the world from 1931 until 2010, when that title was taken by Poland's Christ the King statue. In 2006 a Catholic chapel was consecrated beneath Christ the Redeemer, and today it is a popular location for weddings and baptisms.

In 2008 the statue was struck by lightning and damaged, and a lengthy restoration was carried out by the Rio state government.