A replica of the Statue of Liberty began a journey from Paris to New York this week, French officials said, sending another much smaller monument to freedom and a symbol of Franco-American friendship to the United States.
At less than 10 feet tall, a 16th the size of its big sister, the bronze statue has been carefully hoisted from its place to a museum of inventions in Paris during a ceremony Monday, according to a statement from the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts. The statue, which weighs nearly 1,000 pounds, had been on display at the Musée des Arts et Métiers for 10 years and will be placed in a plexiglass box specially designed for its nine-day trip across the Atlantic.
The smaller statue, based on the original 1878 plaster model by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was installed just outside the entrance to the museum in 2011. This statue was cast using a 3-D scan of another model in Paris, according to the press release. It will be on display at Ellis Island from July 1 to 5, opposite its big brother on Liberty Island. Then, it will be moved to the residence of the French Ambassador in Washington, DC, where it will be on display from July 14, Bastille Day in France, until 2031.
There are more than 100 Statue of Liberty replicas around the world, according to the conservatory. More than 30 are in France, including a handful in Paris.
His arrival in New York, the conservatory said, aims to celebrate and underline the central value of Franco-American friendship: freedom. Officials also said the gesture was intended to pay tribute to those who fought for freedom and democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Similar ideas were behind the original 19th-century statue, designed by legal thinker Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye, a French abolitionist known in the United States for his Civil War-era pamphlets defending the cause of The union. A model of the 1870 statue depicts Lady Liberty holding broken chains in her left hand, a reference to emancipation.
The final model of the statue moved the broken chains under Lady Liberty’s feet, with a tablet that represented the rule of law placed in her hands.
The date of American independence, July 4, 1776, is inscribed on the tablet in Roman numerals. The sculptor, M. Bartholdi, based the design of the statue on the Roman goddess Libertas, who is usually depicted wearing a Phrygian cap, traditionally worn by freed Roman slaves.
On a trip to the United States, Mr. Bartholdi chose what was then Bedloe Island – it was renamed Liberty Island in 1956 – because of its visibility for ships entering New York Harbor. The parts of the statue were built in France in the 1870s, then assembled and exhibited in Paris from 1881 to 1884.
The smaller statue will have a much easier trip to the United States than its larger predecessor, which stands 151 feet tall atop a 154 foot tall pedestal. The 19th century statue had to be dismantled for shipment across the Atlantic, arriving in June 1885. Its pedestal was completed a year later and its parts reassembled around an iron frame. Finally, it opened with great fanfare on October 28, 1886, despite the bad weather.
“The recent and immense structures at the lower end of Manhattan Island, at a distance from which details are lost and the contours and masses are only visible, make New York a setting conducive to the most sumptuous aquatic spectacle. The New York Times reported at the event.
About six years later, the government opened Ellis Island, the inspection site through which more than 12 million immigrants would pass in the decades to come. Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus”, describing the statue welcoming the “gathered masses yearning to breathe freely”, was affixed to the pedestal of the statue in 1903.
The United States Embassy in France shared a video on Twitter this week, a crane lifting the statue into the air as workers below carefully held it with straps.
In a ceremony marking the occasion, Liam Wasley, Acting Embassy Assistant, mentionned, “This crossing of the Atlantic renews and strengthens our common attachment to what we believe in, the foundations of our relationship.