CHRIST THE REDEEMER IN RISING SUN
72"x72" oil paint on polyester canvas, 2016
Harnessed into a Bell 206 helicopter lifting off from Jacarepagua Airport, before sunrise on an early morning in the year 2012, into what looked like a cloudy day. Flying past Sugarloaf Mountain, the clouds started to dissipate in the rising sun. By the time we reached Corcovado Mountain, the dawning city of Rio de Janeiro had opened up. Looking down at the tiny skyscrapers over 2000 feet below gave a dizzying feeling.
Finally looping around the backside of Christ the Redeemer statue, almost all of Rio de Janeiro was visible, creating an effect of what appeared to be an opening of the heavens with the statue guardian looking over and protecting the people below. This opening of heaven's gate scene was going to be painted in all of its glory. -T. J. Mueller
About Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot. Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, excluding its 8-metre (26 ft) pedestal. The arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide.
The statue weighs 635 metric tons (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.