La Statue de la Liberté – Statue of Liberty

La Liberté éclairant le monde (Liberty Enlightening the World), plus connue sous le nom de statue de la Liberté (Statue of Liberty), est l’un des monuments les plus célèbres de la ville de New York. Elle est située sur l’île de Liberty Island au sud de Manhattan, à l’embouchure de l’Hudson et à proximité d’Ellis Island (États-Unis). Elle fut offerte par la France en 1886, pour célébrer le centenaire de la déclaration d’indépendance américaine et en signe d’amitié entre les deux nations. L’inauguration de la statue fut célébrée le 28 octobre 1886 en présence du président des États-Unis, Grover Cleveland. L’idée vient du juriste et professeur au Collège de France, Édouard de Laboulaye en 1865. Le projet est confié en 1871, au sculpteur français né à Colmar Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Le choix des cuivres devant être employés à la construction fut confié à l’architecte Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, qui eut l’idée d’employer la technique du repoussé. En 1879, à la mort d’Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi fit appel à l’ingénieur Gustave Eiffel pour décider de la structure interne de la statue. Ce dernier imagine un pylône métallique qui supporte les plaques de cuivre martelées et fixées. La statue fait en outre partie des National Historic Landmarks depuis le 15 octobre 1924 et de la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO depuis 1984[1].

La statue de la Liberté, en plus d’être un monument très important de la ville de New York, est devenue l’un des symboles des États-Unis et représente de manière plus générale la liberté et l’émancipation vis-à-vis de l’oppression. De son inauguration en 1886 au Jet Age[2], la statue a ainsi été la première vision des États-Unis pour des milliers d’immigrants, après une longue traversée de l’océan Atlantique. Au plan de l’architecture, la statue rappelle le Colosse de Rhodes qui était l’une des sept merveilles du monde antique. Elle constitue enfin l’élément principal du Statue of Liberty National Monument qui est géré par le National Park Service.

 

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World, French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States.

Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site. Bartholdi completed both the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions. The arm was displayed in New York’s Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the World initiated a drive for donations to complete the project, and the campaign inspired over 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. The statue was closed for renovation for much of 1938. In the early 1980s, it was found to have deteriorated to such an extent that a major restoration was required. While the statue was closed from 1984 to 1986, the torch and a large part of the internal structure were replaced. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown. The statue is scheduled to close for up to a year beginning in late 2011 so that a secondary staircase can be installed. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.

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