La'ie Walking Tour: The "Christus" sculpture

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This white replica of the "Christus" stands as the center point as you enter the Visitor's Center. Sculpted by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, born in Copenhagen 1770, he was apparently very gifted being admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen when he was only 11 years old. Thorvaldsen emerged as the most celebrated sculptor of his time. He is internationally known as Denmark's greatest sculptor and best known for "Lion of Lucerne" and his life-sized statues of the twelve apostles. The Building Commission of Copenhagen appointed Thorvaldsen to do the "Christus" in 1819 and labored over five different models before he finally completed the right one which became the sixth. It took nine years to complete the marble edition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first ordered a 11-foot replica (which was the original height) in 1962 and was placed in the Salt Lake City temple Visitor's Center. A second one was made in 1964, which was displayed at the New York World's Fair then placed in the Visitor Center of the temple in Los Angeles. Since then there have been eight 10-foot replica's commissioned by the church and are found in Visitor Centers in Arizona, New Zealand, Washington D.C., Mexico City, Oakland, Palmyra, St. George and this one in Hawai'i. The only other one known of (as of July 2001) is located in a medical school in eastern U.S.A.

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© 2001, Michael Sarafian