Romanian artist Gheorghe Leonida (right) helped work on the face'The statue of the divine saviour shall be the first image to emerge from the obscurity in which the earth is plunged and to receive the salute of the star of the day which, after surrounding it with its radiant luminosity, shall build at sunset around its head a halo fit for the Man-God,' he said, according to the BBC. He has been praised as the man behind the design of the figure's head and hands, with the BBC saying he produced the pieces full-sized in clay before shipping them to Brazl to be reproduced in concrete.'By seeing how the small tiles covered all the curved profiles of the fountain, I was soon taken by the idea of using them on the image which I always had in my thoughts,' wrote Silva Costa according to the BBC.
There were thoughts of using nearby Sugar Loaf Mountain - now also a major tourist attraction - for the statue but Corcovado was chosen for its towering height and ability to be seen from vantage points around the city.Brazilian engineer and architect Heitor da Silva Costa (left) won the design competition before building the statue with French engineer Albert Caquot (centre).The statue has undergone cleaning renovations including a thorough cleaning in 1980, in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II that year, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.Another cleaning project in March 2010 repaired and refurbished the surface.A common sight in Rio is the statue emerging out of morning fog, before the weather clears and thousands of tourists climb the mountain to get views up and down the city's coastline, including nearby Copacabana Beach to the right Still, the work has continued atop Corcovado.
Modern luxuries such as escalators and elevators have been added in recent decades to ease the stair climb for tourists making the pilgrimage to the statue, especially in big numbers during the recent hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and now the Olympics.