The Catholic University of America

Nora Heimann, chair, art, and Duilia de Mello, associate professor at CUA and research associate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, was quoted in a Aug. 9 The Washington Post article about the meanings of Rio's massive Christ.

The many meanings of Rio’s massive Christ statue

From: The Washington Post
Date: Aug. 9, 2016
Author: Michelle Boorstein

Nora Heimann, chair of the Art Department at Catholic University, said Cristo stands out because it is a bridge between the classic European images of Christ on the cross, and more modern, less representational styles. Cristo is the world’s largest Art Deco-style sculpture, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica online.

“This is a triumphant image. Most people describe it as sort of globalization of Christ crucified,” she said, noting that many modern images of Christ don’t even include a cross, whereas in traditional iconography, He was always shown crucified.

Cristo “is striving to be modern in its details,” she said.

Duilia De Mello, a Rio native who now teaches at Catholic University, said Cristo is really important for the people of Rio and of Brazil. It sits atop “one of these urban jungles,” she said. To get there one passes through a forest (either by hike, by car or by train).

“That statue is really important for us in Rio and for the people in Brazil. It has a lot of things behind it — not just the religious symbol but this welcoming symbol of open arms. It’s also supposed to mean we are good hosts,” she said.

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