Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christ the Redeemer

As one of the world's iconic structures, Christ The Redeemer is an instantly recognisable symbol of its city. Standing 2300 feet above sea level it rises a further 98 feet over a 26 foot pedestal. Construction began in 1922 and was completed in 1931. It was designed by Brazilian engineer Heitor de Silva Costa and sculpted by Polish French artist Paul Landowski. I'm reliably told that French tourists in Brazil like to boast that France gave the world Humanism and Brazil Christ the Redeemer.
When you think about it those are two very different, almost opposite things.
Maybe it was Landowski's oft overlooked Polish heritage (given his name that's a bit hard to understand) which provided the religious inspiration necessary to overcome the humanist imperative .
Ahh the French.
So quick to claim and revel in glories of the past.
Given France's dismal contemporary circumstances I suppose that's all they've got to talk about.
(Tongue firmly in cheek as I give jest through clenched teeth.)
In 2007 Christ the Redeemer was voted as one of the top 7 modern wonders of the world. Lobbying had been intense and Brazilians left little to chance.
"One morning in June Rio De Janeiro residents awoke to a beeping text on their cell phones. Press 4916 to vote for Christ Its FREE!"
News Week June 2007
Voting was intense and after some 10 million texts, the Statue secured its place in the top seven.
On April 15 2010, graffiti was sprayed on the right arm and head.
Much outrage followed with the President calling the act a crime against the nation.
My question is how did the guy manage to do it?
He must have had severe anti-religious issues to risk life and limb to tag JC with a spray can.
The view at the top is predictably spectacular with vistas in 360 degrees.
Whether you're religious or not, the Statue conveys a feeling of compassion and comfort.
It can be seen from almost anywhere, gazing over wealth and squalor, witness to all the sadness featured all too often of late.
Seen by all but seldom really looked at.
To many its a symbol of communal faith.
To me its emblematic of a city I've grown very fond of.
Inanimate but somehow sitting just below your consciousness and representative of the city's soul.
You look up and its there whether from the window of a taxi or walking along the beach. I think everyone feels something when they look up and see JC standing arms outstretched gazing serenely over the city.
Its the sort of thing I usually have little patience for, but somehow "get" in RIO.
That may make no sense but it is what it is.
If you ever get to Rio, take the time to really look at it.
It'll give you something positive.
Psycho babble aside, that's a good thing I think.
That's it for today.
I have some last odds and ends from Rio I'll post as and when.
I'm in AA for the next 10 days or so and have enjoyed the early spring like weather and sleeping in my own bed for a change.
Stay well
T

1 comment:

Lucia Falcão said...

This post is an Ode to the Marvelous City, Rio de Janeiro.
Only sensitive eyes can capture the things soul and translate it into images that makes us remember special moments, people we meet, smells, the sounds that surround us -people, children, animals, cars, silence...- and songs.
So, leave you "Samba do Avião", a Brazilian Popular Music sung by the Master Tom jobim - the creator of Bossa Nova, wich is the fusion of samba and jazz.
Love. Lucia.
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGLGxfysqvQ