The Statue of Liberty
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The Statue of Liberty is a 305-foot-tall representation of the concept of liberty, which was personified as a robed woman based on the concepts that developed during the Enlightenment and continued during the nineteenth century. The Statue was constructed in France as a gift for the people of the United States and shipped in sections to New York, where it was accepted on behalf of the American people in 1886 by President Grover Cleveland. The concept was designed and executed by Frederic Bartholdi who was commissioned by France with the intention of delivering the statue in time for the centennial celebration of the United States in 1876, but engineering and other technical difficulties caused significant delays in the construction of the copper Statue.
Bartholdi was born in 1834, and extensively studied architecture and painting before turning to sculpting with the encouragement of his painting teacher, Ary Scheffer. His first work that attracted attention in France was a Good Samaritan group in 1853. In 1855, he obtained a commission from his native city of Colmar for a public monument statute commemorating General Rapp based on the recommendation of the older sculptor Lavalette. Over the next several years, he developed an interest in large or colossal sculptures, and submitted a proposal for a statue at the entrance to the Suez Canal known as Progress Bringing Light To Asia that depicted a robed woman holding a torch aloft. Although the proposal was rejected, it the foundation for his concept of the Statue of Liberty, containing many of the elements such as the raised torch that could function as a lighthouse beacon.
The proposal of a French gift to the United States in the form of a colossal statue representing liberty was promoted by Laboulaye, a prominent French professor of law with strong republican connections and a supporter of the leaders of the Second Republic that eventually replaced Louis Napoleon . In 1871, Bartholdi began a series of visits to the United States in order to promote the idea of a colossal statue as a gift to the American people. During his various travels, he constructed various other sculptures such as a cast-iron fountain in Washington DC that is known as the Bartholdi Fountain. These smaller sculptures helped to secure his reputation in the United States and to secure the popular and political support necessary for the greater undertaking of building a colossal statute.