Christus is the name given to the 11-foot marble statue of Jesus Christ originally crafted in 1821 by the Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen. He made the statue depicting Christ after the resurrection with a profound connotation that Jesus Christ was and still is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world. Most of the literature expounding on the Christus ascribe the theme of the magnificent piece of art as to declare the godly nature of Christ.
Though Bertel was little known outside Europe before he died in 1844 at age 76, his work has become a major attraction today. Replicas of his Christus statue have transversed the globe today.
One of the most famous replicas is the 1965 replica found on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Here, the replica statue stands in a rotunda, with a stunning background mural of the universe, symbolic of the role Jesus Christ had with the creation. A writing under the mural states that ‘it is by him, through him and of him that the worlds were and are created’. This statue was the first ever replica of Bertel’s Christus statue acquired by the LDS church and was a gift from President David O. McKay’s counselor, Stephen L Richards. The Christus statue and replicas depict Christ with two outstretched hand hands inviting all people to come to him, a central doctrine of the Christian faith.
Most other replicas are located in LDS visitor centers in Mesa, Mexico City, Washington DC, Hawaii and many others. After the first replica of 1965, the second Christus ever was then commissioned in the same year. This one was intended for display at the Church’s pavilion during the 1965 New York World’s Fair. The Italian sculptor, Aldo Rebachi did a commendable job and that statue is today placed at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center.
Galleries selling replicas of the famous statue have recently picked up on the sale Christus statue. Smaller replicas of the statue have hit the market and most can readily be bought at an affordable price online and in retail stores, ranging from $10-$300 depending on the size and material. People interested in the statute are motivated by either a collector’s passion or the religious connotation of the Christ’s image. It is the religious inclination however, that has truly propelled the statue’s renewed interests.
The first appearance of the statue in America was in 1896 in a book by where it was regarded as the ‘most perfect and moving statue of Christ’s image in the world.” Today, a Christus statue full-size replica has become a popular sight in America. For instance, there is one located at Baltimore within the iconic dome of Johns Hopkins Hospital. A recent recast of Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue was done in Lego by Swedish Protestant Church parishioners as a commemoration of 2009 Easter Sunday.
Other contemporary uses of the statue have increased particularly in the internet. Most church literature online, website pages and mail correspondences are given the image of the statue as the background. Even in print, many churches use the statue as a watermark for official documents. According to a survey conducted by LDS.org, the image as become a symbol of official church media.
Regardless of the use, the Christus statue has become a universal symbol of Faith, love, and can inspire all men to come unto Him.