The Statue of Liberty is a 46 meter tall copper statue upon a 47 meter base, located on Liberty Island in New York City.
In 1874 Edouard de Laboulaye set up the Franco-Americaine Union which wished to create a monument to commemorate the relationship between France and the United States. This was an expensive build, with over one million dollars being raised from the French public and through the acquisition of a US patent, small replicas of the proposed statues could be sold in order to raise funds. The statue was designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The base upon which the statue stands, was built by the Americans after raising three hundred thousand dollars. The statue was completed in parts, with the head exhibiting in the Worlds Fair in Paris in 1878. In 1885 the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City and was dedicated the following year. The Statue of Liberty held the title of tallest structure in New York City for four years before the New York World Building was built in 1890. This colossal sculpture is an icon of liberty and freedom. This neoclassical figure is based on the Roman Goddess, Libertas, and accordingly holds a torch and tablet evoking the law. The statue stands with a broken chain around her feet. The statue’s tablet is inscribed with the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (July 4th 1776) and it was on that day 104 years later that the the Statue of Liberty was formally presented to the American minister in Paris (July 4th 1880). Not only is this statue a symbol for liberty and freedom for the Americans but also to arriving immigrants who were welcomed by the statue’s beacon.
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This is not the only Statue of Liberty. There exist three Statues of Liberty in Paris. The first of these was inaugurated on the 4th of July 1889. This statue stands at 11.5 meters and is located on the Île aux Cygnes on the River Seine. Her tablet is inscribed with the date of the US Declaration of Independence as well as the date of the storming of the Bastille (July 14th 1789). The second Statue of Liberty was made by Bartholdi for the Exposition Universelle 1900. This sculpture was given to the Musée du Luxembourg and placed in the Jardin du Luxembourg in 1905. In 2012 the sculpture was moved indoors to the Musée d’Orsay and a modern replica stand in its place in the Jardin. The third Statue of Liberty is located in the Musée des Arts et Métiers. This museum houses the original plaster maquette that was used to create the Statue of Liberty in New York City. This was given to the museum by Bartholdi’s widow in 1907, after his death. Outside the museum stands a Statue of Liberty made using the plaster. This is the first of twelve produced by Susse Fondeur Paris, another one is located in Manhattan, with the remaining statues in private collections. Bartholdi also donated a copy to the town of Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer in France. There also stands a statue in Buenos Aires using the same cast as those in Paris. In Rio de Janeiro there is a nickle statue made by Bartholdi in 1899. Today hundreds of replicas, copies and variants of the Statue of Liberty exist but the statue in New York is only one among many designed by Bartholdi.