Florence and the statue of Liberty
The statue of Liberty in New York was made by the French sculptor Bartholdi that was inspired by a work by Pio Fedi in the Church of Santa Croce. Aren't they identical?
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the “liberty enlightening the world” - this is the full name of the famous statue - dominates the bay of New York. It’s a gigantic work that, with its 305 feet is not only the symbol of the metropolis but of the whole United States of America.
The statue was created by the French people as a gift to the newborn United States in occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the declaration of American Independence. It represents a woman, probably the Goddess Athena or a roman divinity, transformed into the concrete icon of freedom, the liberty that the Americans had declared in 1776.
The statue by the French artist Bartholdi was probably inspired by the sculpture carved by Pio Fedi “The Liberty of Poetry” as part of the funeral monument of Giovan Battista Niccolini in the church of Santa Croce in Florence.
THE FUNERAL MONUMENT OF NICCOLINI IN THE CHURCH OF SANTA CROCE
It’s documented that Bartholdi had been in Florence in 1865, so having the chance to see the prototype of the statue by Pio Fedi, the most famous sculptor of Florence as capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. Fedi represented the Poetry with a draped dress of classical style, she has a crown with eight rays (instead of seven of the statue of Liberty in New York, symbolizing the seas and the continents), she is lifting up a broken chain, on the contrary the American Statue of Liberty holds a burning torch.
If the Statue of Liberty holds a book with the date of the American Declaration of Independence (the 4th of July of 1776), the Liberty by Pio Fedi keeps a laurel crown, symbol of the glory of Poetry.
It’s really evident how the two works resemble, Bartholdi probably drew up the inspiration from the sculpture he saw in Florence, for sure they are both icons of the 19th century thinking, its aspiration to the universal freedom.
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