Travelers are always searching for inspiration to lead the way to their adventures. For the past 132 years, Lady Liberty, one of New York’s star attractions, has welcomed all travelers to New York Harbor. With our article this time, let’s find out who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after and some other amazing facts about it.
The Statue of Liberty is proclaimed to be one of America’s most well-known and beloved monuments, and almost everyone wants to know who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after. It’s standing to welcome immigrants to New York and for the people who are returning to America to make them feel that they have reached home.
1. Planning for the Statue of Liberty
During the revolutionary war, France and America became close friends seeking freedom from Great Britain. France offered the U.S. a special gift to honor its friendship with America: a beautiful art of sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi called Liberty Enlightening the World.
The early designs of the statue were the work of famous scholars Barry Moreno and Edward Berenson. They took the form of a vague, peasant woman. The proposed work by a French sculptor was entitled “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.”
When asked who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after, many historians say that Lady Liberty was modeled after the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas. But no one could actually find out any strong proof of who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after. As Barthold completed his first commissioned work at age twenty, a large bronze statue of Napoleonic General Jean Rapp, he traveled with a group of French cultural ambassadors to photograph works of antiquity in Egypt.
Around the 1850s, during the construction of the Suez Canal in Egypt, Bartholdi submitted an idea of the monumental figure, a “robe-clad woman representing Egypt.” Bartholdi was assigned to design a statue at the entrance to the Suez Canal in Egypt.
This colossal woman was supposed to be positioned in the middle of the Suez Canal, titled Egypt carrying the Light to Asia, while the proposed statute was declined due to the expensive cost.
However, artistic desires were set aside as Napoleon III enlisted France in a war against Prussia and Germany.
In search, his journey to Egypt led him to ancient giant Egyptian statues and, eventually, to the Colossus of Rhodes. To get some idea of who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after, we could consider the Egyptian statues as inspiration. The statue was placed at the harbor entrance to the Greek city of Rhodes. It shows the god of the sun, Helios, carrying light to guide ships. Encouraged by Colossus, he created a robed Middle Eastern Woman, a peasant, holding up a fiery torch.
He referred to it as “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.” While Egypt rejected the idea as it was too costly at that point in time, Bartholdi’s vision of an “Arab peasant” expanded into one of a “colossal goddess” that he later added to his Statue of Liberty design.
When questioned about who is the statue of liberty modeled after, it’s best to explain that Bartholdi delivered a figurine for a colossal lighthouse depicting an Egyptian fellah, a female serf, called the ‘Eygpt Carrying the Light to Asia.’
The statue would be an ideogram of friendship between the two nations and honor the end of slavery. De Laboulaye did hope that such a gift would inspire his people to fight for their liberty.
As some people believe, Bartholdi was already clear about who the Statue of Liberty is modeled after. In three months, Bartholdi found a preferred location for the statue on Bedloe’s Island(renamed Liberty Island) in New York harbor.
Before submitting an idea for the Statue of Liberty, Bartholdi made sketches and models of the proposed work to make it clear in his head who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after.
Too many stories for you to follow behind the history of Lady Liberty and who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after, right? Let us make all these details simpler for you.
The Statue of Liberty was created as a joint vision by two Frenchmen: sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and politician Eduoard-Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye. Bartholdi plunged into the project enthusiastically. It took him almost two decades to complete the statue. Bartholdi made several trips to the United States to generate enthusiasm for the project and launch a drive to raise funds on which the statue could stand.
During his visits to New York, Bartholdi caught sight of a tiny island in New York Harbor, called Bedloe’s Island, just off the southern tip of Manhattan. It seemed perfect to him as a place for the statue.
The statue’s completion was marked the first ticker-tape parade and a diligence ceremony guided over by President Grover Cleveland of New York.
One of Bartholdi’s inspirations to create the new statue was the Colossus of Rhodes. After extreme guesses and discussions on who the Statue of Liberty is modeled after, the National park service confirms that the statue was modeled after the Roman goddess Liberty or Libertas. The broken chains close to the statue’s feet, the NPS states, likely represent breaking free from “tyranny and servitude.”
Bartholdi modeled three hundred copper sheets that covered the interior framework; the copper eventually turned greenish after long exposure to the atmosphere. Since it was made of copper skin, it would be difficult to ship the completed statue from France to the United States. The French built the statue in pieces. At that point, it was difficult to judge who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after. Then, they shipped the pieces across the Atlantic Ocean, where they were being assembled by some construction crews. Charlotte P. Stone directed the construction of the statue once it arrived under the United States government.
The government of France raised funds for the statue with the understanding that America would pay for her pedestal, faced with pink Stony Creek granite. President Grover Cleveland refused to use state funds while Congress couldn’t agree on an amount. Hence a dedicated fundraising committee fell short by a third.
The statue’s pedestal was financed by an early crowdfunding effort. The France Government paid for the statue with the conception that America would raise funds for the statue’s pedestal.
Through some lottery and donations, the French raised $250,000 to begin building the statue. The people of the United States donated more than $180,000 to help with the cost of putting it together and building the base for the statue. It took several years for the United States government to come up with the money because many felt the government should not pay for it.
Once the statue’s construction was completed without even knowing who the Statue of Liberty modeled after Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Fransisco, and Boston all started eyeing the sculpture for their cities; Joseph Pultizer devised a solution: he would print the name of each person who contributed and offer rewards to the largest contributors.
Finally, they could move forward – $100,000 covered the last of the pedestal’s cost, and the rest was given to the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi as a gift.
As the money came in, Bartholdi oversaw the construction of the statue at the warehouse of Gaget, Gauthier & Co. The colossus was assembled in Paris and then shipped to America. Bartholdi returned to New York along with a French delegation to keep his eyes on the completed Statue of Liberty and participate in its inauguration.
1.4. Picking the Location
Once the basic idea for the proposed statue was commissioned, Bartholdi traveled to the United States in 1865 to determine the best location for the statue. He was impressed by the large buildings and development in New York. He explored all of it and the different islands around the New York harbor.
Armed with letters of instructions from Laboulaye, Bartholdi secured meetings with some of America’s most influential people, with mixed results. He finally chose Bedloe’s Island, later known as liberty island. This location, Bedloe’s Island, would put the monument at the gateway to America. He wanted to do something on a high level to match the grandeur that he found in New York City.
From 1892 to 1943, over 12 million immigrants were greeted by “Lady Liberty” as they arrived on boats nearby Ellis Island. They were astonished at who this giant statue was and who the Statue of Liberty modeled after.
2. The Symbolism of the Statue
The Statue of Liberty was not merely a representation of a woman. It has been a debate for ages about who is the statue of modeled after. Consequently, every single detail of the statue of Lady Liberty carried a message, starting with the fact that the statue symbolized a woman.
For the first time in 1886, when the Statue of Liberty was made public to the world, there was a lot of controversy as to who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after. There are a notable number of people who believe that Lady Liberty might be a he. Yes, that’s right because of her strong jawline and serious expression.
It’s true that looking up close; her face can be quite daunting or intimidating. Her expression is serious-determined. She isn’t smiling with dazzle in her eye or posing seductively like many other feminine statues you might be familiar with. Instead, her serious expression and calm demeanor of her face represent the long and difficult journey to freedom
Around her head, the crown’s seven rays from the seven seas, a halo representing the sun and the seven continents.
But you can rest assured that, while the face of the original model might be intimidating, it’s not taken from or inspired by a man in any way. Still, wondering who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after? Keep reading.
The most likely model for Bartholdi was one important woman in his life, his mother, Charlotte Bartholdi. People of his day noticed the strong resemblance between Bartholdi’s mother and the Statue of Liberty. And concluded that the statue is modeled after her.
There’s a common saying that writers follow -“write what you know.” In our case, for Bartholdi, the idea was to build what he knew or imagined. While he never formally confirmed who is the statue of liberty modeled after, many people recognize that there is a significant similarity between the Statue of Liberty and Charlotte Bartholdi, mother of Frederic.
When compared with the face of the statue, it resembled a portrait of Charlotte Bartholdi, which looked almost similar. The stern eyes, long nose, and tough jaw between the two of them make it clear that she must have had some impact on the design, even if it was subconscious on the part of Frederic. Now that you know who is the statue of modeled after, we would like you to go through some amazing facts about Lady Liberty.
3. Some Intriguing Facts About Lady Liberty
- There have been posts on social media that claim she is the Statue of Liberty modeled after an enslaved Black woman. This primary claim is false. The original model was inspired by a female figure. The physique of a female Arab peasant builds up to colossal proportions. The full post states, “The original statue was a black woman given to us by France to pay homage to the slaves that were brought here by force. The original was refused by America, so they made a new one with a white face on it! BELIEVE ME WHEN I TELL YOU WE ARE QUEENS!!” But, it was all declared as false.
- The statue was initially supposed to be a lighthouse. When Ulysses Grant authorized the use of Bedloe’s Island(now liberty island) for the statue, he mentioned that the Statue of Liberty would be a lighthouse, and that would give the lady a purpose and, therefore, would merit government funding. However, the engineers were never able to light it enough for that purpose successfully.
- Suffragettes protested the unveiling of the statue. When it came out for the very first time in October 1886, women’s rights groups opposed that an enormous female figure would stand representing liberty in New York Harbor, when most American women don’t even have the liberty to vote.
- She was nearly a speaking statue. At a point, Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb and phonograph, proposed that he could install a giant gramophone inside the Statue of Liberty, enabling her to “speak.” Ultimately, the idea was rejected.
- She sways in the wind. Gustave Eiffel- famed for a certain iron tower that bears his name, created the statue’s unique skeleton. The iron structure at the core was the height of innovation at its time without even being sure who the Statue of Liberty modeled after is capable of shifting in the wind without cracking or bending. The Statue of Liberty can sway up to three inches during heavy winds in any direction, while her torch can sway up to five inches.
- Since it was assembled in New York Harbor, she’s been a magnet for lightning bolts. According to most estimates, the copper statue hits approx 600 bolts of lightning every year.
- Another lesser-known fact about the Statue of Liberty is that it was given by the French government to America. In fact, its construction and shipping were entirely crowd-funded to spite the ruling class of the day.
- Over time, the weathering of the copper created a thin layer of copper carbonate known as patina. Although some people thought that the changing color of the Statue of Liberty meant it was decaying, the patina actually protected the copper underneath from further corrosion.
4. Liberty in Art and Sculpture
There was a lot to consider for Bartholdi when finalizing the design for the statue. Fortunately for him, there were already several figures and monuments dedicated to liberty and freedom across the globe. Each one served as inspiration for the final design of Lady Liberty. Let’s look into the artistry to reveal who is the Statue of Liberty modeled after.
During the great wave of immigration in the 1910s and 1920s, the Statue of Liberty welcomed people who traveled here by boat. As they went through Ellis Island, immigrants were guided by her. Since 1933, the National Park Service has been looking after the Statue of Liberty.
4.1. Inspiration for the Statue of Liberty
In the late 1800s, in American culture, one of the most remarkable female portraits was the Roman goddess Libertas, a female idol dressed in robes. She was worshipped as the goddess of freedom in ancient Rome, especially among enslaved people. Representations of her were commonly used symbolically by artists. Even in the 19th century, this figure could be found in American coins, popular culture, and civic art.
4.2. Broken Chains And A Tablet
Sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi considered including a broken chain in the statue’s left arm but decided against it because it would cause too much division in the days following the civil war. In its place, Bartholdi chose to symbolize the concept of law with a tablet in her left hand inscribed with the date of America’s Declaration of Independence and lifting a torch in her right hand.
Each element is symbolic. The book she carries features the date America’s Declaration of Independence was signed(July 4, 1776), while the seven points of her crown symbolize the seven seas, the seven continents, and the rays of the sun. This image conveys the hopeful spread of liberty around the world and also sets an example from the U.S. for the rest of the world.
The tablet on Lady Liberty’s arm also has a religious significance. It prompts the memory of the biblical story of Moses God’s ten commandments written on a tablet down from Mount Sinai.
At her feet lay broken chains, representing the political repression of Europe from which the United States government had broken free.
4.3. The Torch and Crown
As believed by many, Lady Liberty’s torches are a symbol of enlightenment. Its torch paves the way to freedom and down the path of liberty. The official title of the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Bartholdi added the torch to represent progress, giving the statue a more peaceful appearance rather than invoking violence.
Believe it or not, people used to be allowed up to the torch of the statue. Only 12 people at a time could do the climb.
On July 30, the “Black Tom” explosion took place in New York Harbor. A group of Germans set out to destroy a collection of the United States military properties meant to be supplied to the Allies during World War I.
The explosion reached as far as Liberty Island, and it caused some damage to the statue’s exterior and to the torch. For more safety and precautionary reasons, it was decided not to allow any more guests to the top. Nowadays, members of the National Park Service staff are the only people allowed up there.
One can visit the original torch. It’s now on display in the pedestal lobby. The torch was never reopened, but visitors looking for a view can still visit the crown with a reservation made at statuecruises.com.
5. Setting Up The Statue
By 1884, the entire statue’s construction was completed and put together in Paris, while construction workers, many of whom were recent immigrants, started building the statue’s pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, now known as Liberty Island. The entire structure was then disassembled and packed into 200 cases to be sent by ship to New York. However, there was a potentially huge obstacle: how to pay for the statue’s base?
Seeing the size of the statue meant that it needed a high, giant-size, well-built, and very heavy pedestal to anchor it to the ground. Thanks to Bartholdi and popular fund-raising, the money was found to build the pedestal. In early 1885, with the completion of the pedestal, “Liberty Enlightening the World” was dismantled and shipped to America.
The entire statue arrived in New York Harbor on June 19, 1885. It came in 350 pieces packed in 214 crates. Later, the statue was assembled on a pedestal base built by the U.S.
The Statue of Liberty was a statue of huge and impressive size in its day and remains so even today in the twenty-first century. She measures 111 feet, 1 inch from her heel to the top of her head.
There’s a great saying, “one’s who loves us never really leaves us.”
Deliberately, one can always feel them in our ideas, day-to-day tasks, and life decisions, and one day maybe in some very famous and most loved monuments of the world even if one can never find out who the Statue of Liberty modeled after people still love and adore her wholeheartedly.
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