Image of the Day – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

Since last week’s images focused on non-Catholic religious practices and beliefs in the Americas, I figured this wee could look at the various manifestations of Catholicism in the Americas, and what better place to start than with one of South America’s (and the world’s) most famous Catholic icons? Rio de Janeiro’s 130-foot-tall statue of Christ the Redeemer sits on Corcovado mountain, standing 3000 feet over Rio de Janeiro. Although construction on the statue began in the 1920s, Getúlio Vargas, who came to office as president in 1930, used the statue’s unveiling as part of his broader effort to increase nationalist sentiment in Brazil. Although most photos (including this one) don’t indicate it, the statue is made up of small stones pieced together from top to bottom, and the statue is the world’s largest art-deco statue. In 2007, the statue was named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” One can easily argue that there are many more candidates more deserving, but the statue ended up in the top 7 in voting thanks to a massive campaign Brazilians launched in order to end up included, revealing how even today, the statue remains central to national pride in Brazil.

The Cristo Redentor statue, looking over neighborhood of Botafogo, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro.

Bonus Image: Cristo Redentor from the front.

Rio de Janeiro's Cristo Redentor statue.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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