UPDATE: Today June 22 I finished this large painting. This will have to dry for about a month before I can ship it around 7/22/2014.
If you are interested in this painting please let me know, I can reserve for you. Purchase or reserve
"Statue of Liberty" is a piece I wanted to paint for a long time. I chose a large canvas 24 inches wide and 72 inches tall. The medium is oil. I started with a charcoal sketch and from there the whole painting will be done in layers.
I make it a habit of studying up on many of the subjects I paint. So as I am painting this, I am learning more about the Statue of Liberty. Most of us know of course that the statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (who like me, was born in Alsace, France) and the metal frame to hold the copper panels, that make up the statue was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who of course designed the Eiffel Tower.
What surprised me was the fact, that originally the Statue was designed somewhat different and meant to light the entry to the Suez Canal. Egypt who was going to pay for it wasn't able to go through with the project, when the bottom fell out of the Egypt's cotton market, after the American Civil War ended in 1865. 10 years later in 1875 the construction of the statue of Liberty in the US began.
As the story goes, Bartholdi developed a fascination with Egypt, after traveling to Luxor in 1855, this is when he began his drawing and sketching for a statue that was supposed to light up the Suez Canal.
Bartholdi returned to Egypt in 1869 for the opening of the Suez Canal and brought with him plans for the statue. He envisioned a toga wearing giant women that was supposed to double as a lighthouse. There was lots of fanfare and French and British stockholders were elated.
So here is where the adventures of Lady Liberty gets interesting. The Suez canal, while in Egypt wasn't benefiting Egypt financially. However Egypt s had lots of cotton wealth, helped by the blockade of southern cotton and some quirky cotton diplomacy at the time of the civil war, cotton prices shot up.
But since the end of the Civil war in 1865 things began to change and the end of cotton wealth for Egypt also meant an end to Bartholdi's dream of lady Egypt.
There was the canal, but revenue from the canal went straight to the investors, which were European. Bartholdi knew Egypt would not be able to finance his lady Egypt any longer, so he traveled with his head hang low, to the US and arrived in new York, where he laid eyes on then Bedloe Island (now known as Liberty Island), A small, about 20 acre oval shaped island, that he immediately knew, was a perfect spot for his creation.
Bartholdi worked out an arrangement with Gustav Eiffel to build the statue in 350 pieces in Paris
The French Government paid for it and American donors paid for the 89-foot pedestal. Bartholdi's goal was to have the dedication coincide with the centennial of the American Revolution, somewhere around July 4, 1876. It did not happen until Oct 28, 1886 with a military, naval and civic parade in Manhattan, ending at the Battery at the tip of the island, with Gen. Charles P. Stone, who as the statue's American engineer was the parade's marshal.
On that day U.S. President Grover Cleveland said in a rousing speech: "We are not here today to bow before the representative of a fierce and warlike god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but instead, we contemplate our own peaceful deity keeping watch before the open gates of America. Instead of grasping in her hands the thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light that illumines the way to man's enfranchisement." Liberty's light, shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and men's oppression until liberty shall enlighten the world."! The battleship Tennessee shot off salvos in-between and it was quite a spectacle, with loud cheers by the crowds.
The Egypt inspiration wasn't mentioned and it wasn't until 1956 when Bedloe Island was renamed Liberty Island.
I hope this was an interesting account of the Adventures of Lady Liberty.
With Independence day coming up, I wish all of you the best
and Happy 4th of July!
Painting progression part 1 through 5