It was 1865 and in a conversation the intellectual Édouard Laboulaye said: “If a monument is to arise in the United States as a reminder of their independence, I must believe that it is natural to carry it out with common efforts, a common work of our two nations” to want to celebrate the joint efforts of Americans and French during the American Secession War; and it is in this comment that Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a young French sculptor, had the inspiration for the construction of the well-known Statue of Liberty.
The foundation stone was laid on rocky Liberty Island, formerly Bedloe’s Island, in New York on August 5, 1884. On June 19 of the year after, the statue entered the city through the main gate, from the port on the Hudson River to the center of Manhattan Bay. In 1885 the project was completed and the inauguration took place on 28 October 1886.
“Liberty that illuminates the world”, in English “Liberty enlightening the world”, in French “La liberté éclairant le monde”, or more commonly known as “Statue of Liberty”, is now a monument symbol not only of the entire United States of America, but of the whole world: a symbol of freedom and universal hope.
Conceived by Édouard René de Laboulaye and designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel, who a few years later will also participate in the construction of the Eiffel Tower of the Ile de France. In fact, in Paris, on the Seine there is the original which is often mistakenly said to be a copy.
99 meters high, visible up to 40 kilometers away, it has an internal steel lattice structure covered with 300 copper sheets shaped and riveted together, which rests on a gray-pink granite base from the Stony Creecy quarry in Connecticut; for almost two centuries, it has welcomed those who travel to the “new continent” to travel and try their luck and challenge fate.
It represents a woman wearing a long toga and holding a torch in one hand, a symbol of the eternal fire of freedom, while in the other hand she holds a book with the date of July 4, 1776, the day of American Independence. At the foot there are broken chains to indicate liberation from dictatorial power and, on the head, there is a crown with seven points representing the seven seas and seven continents.
The statue represents the goddess Ragione, whose torch symbolizes Masonic knowledge.
On her pedestal is engraved a sonnet entitled “The New Colossus”, written by the American poet Emma Lazarus, after the woman visited the quarantine quarters of immigrants in the port of New York.
“Hold on, O ancient lands, your vain pomp – it cries [la statua] with silent lips – Give me your tired, your poor, your cold masses eager to breathe free, the wretched waste of your crowded coasts. Send them to me, the homeless, shake them by storms and I will raise my torch by the golden door. ”
Antonietta Della Femina – © Even partial reproduction – Rights Reserved MN24