Statue of Liberty, 1875-1884
The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France in 1884. Edouard Laboulaye, a French historian and politician, came up with the idea for the statue in 1865, and in 1871 he commissioned sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi to design the work . Originally intended to be completed by the 100-year anniversary of the independence of the United States, the project proved too large for such an ambitious schedule, and was not finished until 1884 . The work, which was put together first in France, then had to be dismantled, packaged, shipped to the United States, and re-assembled on Liberty Island (then called Bedloe Island) . The sculpture was finally dedicated in a ceremony on October 26, 1886.
The statue is made of a thin layer of molded copper covering an iron skeleton . The skeleton, which supports the statue's 179,200 pounds of copper , was designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later created the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In accepting the gift of the Statue of Liberty from France, the United States agreed to raise money for the building of a pedestal on which the state would stand. This pedestal, designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt, is 89 feet high, and cost almost $94,000 to build . In order to raise money for the construction, a committee was established, and a fund-raising drive began. One event held to benefit the drive was the Pedestal Art Loan Exhibition, at which various works of art were shown and auctioned. It was for this auction that Emma Lazarus, American poet, wrote her famous work "The New Colossus". The words of the poem, which are now widely associated with the symbolic meaning of the Statue of Liberty, were not actually posted on Liberty Island until 1903, after a friend of Lazarus' rediscovered the poem, had it inscribed on a plaque, and donated it for installation inside the pedestal . It was at this time that the statue became seen as a symbol of immigration to the United States .
There have been various interpretations as to what were the intentions of Laboulaye and his associates in the presentation of the Statue of Liberty to the United States. Beyond simply a gift of friendship, the statue may have been intended to stimulate trade between the two nations, or to highlight the technological advances of the French . It may have been intended as a message to the French people promoting democracy and liberty as seen in the United States .
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Related art works
The Four Continents.
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