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October 25, 2012

Essay on Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
Designed by Frederic Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, the statue of liberty is an imposing neoclassical sculpture located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The statue came to America as a gift from the people of France. Its robed female figure represents the Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom who carries a torch and a tabula ansata---a tablet representing the law. The statue is a glorious work and it attracts many tourists from all over the world.

The date of American Declaration is inscribed on it. The story of the Statue of Liberty started in August 1834, in Colmar, Alsace. Indeed, on this date Fredric Auguste Bartholdi, the person who carved the statue was born. He was the son of Jean Charles Bartholdi.
The Statue of Liberty, officially Statue of Liberty or Lady Liberty, as it is known by Americans is a symbol of freedom of the United States. It is a gift delayed by ten years of the French to the Americans for the 100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and inaugurated in October 1886. For many immigrants from Europe who arrived in New York, the Statue of Liberty was the first sight for them.

The Statue shows the liberty of America—an idea so firmly rooted in the sustainability and prosperity of its people and country.  The outer shell of the great lady is made of copper, which has created over time and explains the patina green color.(Hayden, 1985) 

            With one foot in the Statue of Liberty standing on the broken chains symbolizes the end of slavery. Another symbol is the raised arm with the gilded torch in its hand, which is a sign of enlightenment. The overwhelming France offered this gift to secure the goodwill of the then distinguished America.   In New York a lot of tours to the Statue of Liberty are offered as one can climb to the crown. 
            Bartholdi and Laboulaye conveyed and expressed the idea of American in a very exquisite manger. In the initial history of United States, two female figures were incessantly used as the cultural symbols of the nation. One in Columbia was viewed as an epitome of the United States in the same manner as Britannia was identified with the United Kingdom. Columbia had already superseded the earlier figure of Indian Princess which was rather regarded as uncivilized and somewhat derogatory toward Americans.     
            The other important female icon in American culture represented liberty---an idea derived from the Libertas, the goddess of freedom who was revered and worshipped in ancient Rome and was extremely popular among emancipated slaves. A Liberty figure adorned most American coins of the time.
It was the time when representations of Liberty came to appear in the popular and civic art. The figure of Liberty was depicted on the Great Seal of France.(Glassberg, 2003)
 Laboulaye never supported the ideas of revolution wholeheartedly therefore Bartholodi’s figure would be fully dressed in flowing robes. Bartholdi sought to give the statue a peaceful appearance and chose a torch as a symbol of progress. The statue quite evidently holds that torch.
Crawford's statue was carved out in the early 1850s. It was initially to be crowned with apileus, the cap offered to liberated slaves in ancient Rome. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, a Southerner who would later serve as president of the Confederate States of America, was worried that the pileus would be treated as an abolitionist symbol. He ordered that it be changed to a helmet.(Bell,1984)

Delacroix's figure wears a pileus, and Bartholdi in the first place considered placing one on his figure as well. Rather, he used a diadem, or crown, to top its head. In so doing, he shunned any referecen that would lead to  Marianne, who undoubtedly wears apileus.(Harris, 1985) The seven rays shape a halo or aureole. They serve to evoke the sun, the seven seas, and the seven continents and correspond to another means in addition to the torch. The Liberty enlightens the whole world.  
Bartholdi's early models were all same in its conception: a female figure in neoclassical style symbolizing liberty, wearing a stola and pella(gown and cloak, common in depictions of Roman goddesses) and holding a torch up. He designed and structured the figure with a strong, simple silhouette, which would go well with its dramatic harbor position and permit passengers on vessels entering New York Bay to experience a changing perception on the statue as they moved toward Manhattan. He infused in it bold classical curves and applied basic modeling, reverberating the huge scale of the project and its solemn purpose.(Khan, 2010)
According to the historical fact, the face of Lady Liberty was completed on June 30, 1878 and was exhibited at the Paris Exposition. The actual identity of Lady Liberty's face has been the issue of debate and historians state she was modeled after either Isabella Eugenie Boyer or Bartholdi's mother.
In 1882, France completed the funding of the Statue of Liberty. Back in the U. S., however, money was still being collected to construct the base of the statue.  Publisher Joseph Pulitzer who later won the Pulitzer Prize, used his newspaper, The World to conduct the fund raising for the pedastal. 
In July of 1884, the Statue of Liberty was completed in France. In August of 1884 in the U. S. construction of the pedestal was stalled due to the shortage of funds. In the Spring of 1885, Pulitzer agains started fundraising through newspaper and construction was again resumed in May.
In June 1885, the Statue of Liberty anchored in New York City through boat from France. The statue arrived in 350 separate pieces. In August 1885, U. S. financing for the base of the Statue of Liberty was done. Construction on the pedestal was completed in April 1886.
The Statue of Liberty was at last uncrated as it was awaiting the pedestal to be completed and was assembled taking four-month and completed on October 28, 1886. On this date, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland, who had earlier hindered the construction phase of the base.
For the first 16 years of its existence, the Statue of Liberty was a beacon of light for immigrants landing in  America due to the fact that it an intact and funtional lighthouse system by that time.  The statue had a lighthouse keeper and an electric light that could be seen for 24 miles. 


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