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Special Postal Issue | Tribute to the Monument Christ the Redeemer

About the Souvenir Sheet

The souvenir sheet artwork is composed of 4 original works by the artist Oskar Metsavaht. The background consists of a photograph in shades of gray where the Christ the Redeemer statue in the foreground appears over the Natural Monument of Cagarras Islands, a conservation unit located in front of Ipanema Beach, in Rio de Janeiro. The 3 stamps, superimposed on the background, are iconic works of the artist’s view of Christ the Redeemer, revealing its ‘skin’, formed by thousands of triangle-shaped small soapstones. The photos were printed in black with a silver background to highlight the monument’s details. Above the stamps it’s presented the commemorative signature with the official logo of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary. In addition to photography, the computer graphics technique was used.

Tribute to the Monument Christ the Redeemer

On October 12, 2021, the monument Christ the Redeemer, one of the most recognized symbols in Brazil, completes 90 years of inauguration. To commemorate this important occasion, Correios launched a souvenir sheet depicting the monument, designed by the artist Oskar Metsavaht.

In 1921, in preparation for the celebrations of the centenary of independence, a group of lay people called the “Catholic Circle” launched again the idea that had been circulating in the national imagination since the end of the 19th century: the construction of a statue of Jesus Christ on the Mount Corcovado. Engineer Heitor da Silva Costa from Rio de Janeiro presented the winning project, which featured the image of Jesus on a pedestal, holding a large cross in his left hand, and the globe in his right hand.

In 1922, under the leadership of the writer Laurita Lacerda, around twenty thousand women presented a petition to President Epitácio Pessoa, asking for authorization to build the monument. In 1923, Dom Sebastião Leme organized a large fundraising campaign for the monument, which was built with donations from the Brazilian people.

That same year, after criticism from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (Fine Arts School), Dom Sebastião Leme asked Heitor da Silva Costa to change the project, so that it could be seen from afar, with greater religious symbolism. With the help of the painter Carlos Oswald, Heitor da Silva Costa designed the image of Jesus with his torso erect and arms outstretched, with the world at his feet.

In 1924, Heitor da Silva Costa traveled to Paris, where he hired the French sculptor Paul Landowski, a specialist in the art deco style. Between 1924 and 1926, Paul Landowski made a mockup and a life-size sculpture of the head and hands of the monument, whose plaster casts were sent to Brazil in numbered parts. French engineer Albert Caquot performed the structural calculations.

Before returning to Brazil, Heitor da Silva Costa decided that the reinforced concrete monument would be entirely covered with a large mosaic of soapstone, a beautiful, malleable material, resistant to heat, cold and erosion. It was built in five years, between 1926 and 1931, bringing together engineering, architecture and sculpture, thanks to the exquisite work of the workers. Architect Heitor Levy was the construction foreman, and Pedro Fernandes Viana was the fiscal engineer.

In 1929, Dom Sebastião Leme requested that a simple heart be molded into the chest of the statue, making it a stylized image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The monument was inaugurated on October 12, 1931, the day of Nossa Senhora Aparecida. For this reason, a chapel dedicated to the patroness saint of Brazil was built at the monument base.

Throughout its history, the monument Christ the Redeemer has been present in Brazilian philately. In this issue, invited by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary to print his gaze on the monument, Oskar Metsavaht delved into the construction of the modernist statue in reinforced concrete that resulted in an artistic, architectural and conceptual research on Christ the Redeemer. The artist presented a contemporary reading of its symbology, where spirituality, art and architecture intersected in a divine geometry, creating one of the most beautiful and significant symbols of universal culture.

The mobilization of society for the construction of Christ the Redeemer can be represented through thousands of small soapstone mosaics, where each one features a person or family who contributed donations or work, reveals that the construction of Christ the Redeemer was a pioneering project of crowdfunding.

Now, through Correios, the monument to Christ the Redeemer, celebrating its 90th anniversary, is honored and propagated through Philately.

Technical Details

Stamp issue N. 14

Art: Oskar Metsavaht & OM.Art

Print system: offset with spot colours

Paper: gummed chalky paper

Souvenir sheet with 3 stamps

Facial value: R$ 3.95 (each stamp)

Issue: 20,000 souvenir sheets

Design area: 35 x 25mm

Stamp dimensions: 40 x 30mm

Souvenir sheet dimensions: 200 x 200mm

Perforation: 11.5 x 12

Date of issue: September 24th , 2021

Place of issue: Rio de Janeiro/RJ

Printing: Brazilian Mint

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