World Exhibition Paris 1878

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May 1, 1878 - October 31, 1878


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Head of the Statue of Liberty

Head of the Statue of Liberty at the Exhibition Paris 1878

Architect(s) : Bartholdi

Philadelphia had the arm and the part of the torch held in the hand; Paris has the head: the Champ-de-Mars has therefore nothing to envy to Fairmount-Park.

We know that this ultra-colossal statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, the work of M. Bartholdi, is intended to perpetuate the memory of the founding of American independence and the part that France played in it. It will be erected on Pilot de Bedloe, in the harbour of New York itself, at the entrance to the Hudson, where it will really light up the world, as it will serve as a lighthouse. It is by means of voluntary subscriptions collected in both countries that the promoters of the work will be able, soon we hope, to give the final consecration to this great idea.

With the pedestal, the height of the monument will exceed 100 metres. The body of the statue measures 34 metres, the arm and the torch 13 metres, and the base 25 metres. Exposed as it will be to all winds, we thought of ensuring its stability by new procedures: instead of a masonry mass, we imagined interior partitions rising to about half the height of the statue and which will be filled with sand, so that, in case of repairs to be made, rather than having a long and costly demolition work, we will only have to let this sand flow.

The Statue of Liberty is of hammered copper; she stands with her right arm raised perpendicularly, armed with the torch, her left arm bent, supporting the tables bearing the engraved articles of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776); a tunic envelops her from shoulders to feet with artfully draped folds; the head is girded with rays from which electric lights will emanate, surrounding her as if in a bright halo. - As a lighthouse, to be honest, this crown of flames will not have the importance of a first-rate device; but this is undoubtedly not the purpose that has been proposed.

The head of this colossal statue rises in the park of the Champ-de-Mars, towards the middle of the small alley parallel to the central alley which leads from the Pont d'Iéna to the entrance of honour, on the left in this direction; but it can be seen from a distance. An iron staircase has been installed inside this head so that the public can climb to the top and look through the skylights, i.e. the eyes. On the ground floor is a small shop where photographs of the model as it is and of the New York harbour with the statue placed on its island and crowned with radiant lights are sold. The entrance fee for the panorama of this view, which has been mounted for some time in the Tuileries, is included in the purchase of the photograph.
All the money collected in this way is paid into the subscription fund.

©L'Exposition Universelle 1878