Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Video of the “Christ of the Abyss” Statue Under the Waters off Key Largo

In the video at the end of this article, you will see an approximate nine foot bronze sculpture that symbolizes peace of mankind from its unusual setting - beneath the ocean at Key Largo Dry Rocks off John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The statue and the replicas like it around the world are known as the "Il Christo Degli Abissi" or in English - "Christ of the Abyss".

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 The original sculpture, (above) the "Il Cristo degli Abissi", is in the Mediterranean sea off San Fruttuoso between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera. It was placed in the water on 22 August 1954 at approximately 17 meters depth, and stands 2.5 meters (8.5 feet) tall. Professor Guido Galletti cast the original from the inspiration of the first Italian to use SCUBA gear, swimmer/diver Duilo Merchant. Galletti wanted a symbol to inspire all who explored and loved the sea in 1954. In 1961.

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The statue depicts Christ in a pose offering peace. His hands and head are raised toward the surface (or the sky, when positioned above water). Due to increasing amounts of corrosion and the growth of crustaceans, the statue was removed from the water and restored in 2003. A hand that had been detached by an anchor was also replaced. The statue was returned to the water with a new base on 17 July 2004.
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A second bronze sculpture cast from the same mold exists off the coast of St George in the Caribbean. This was a gift of the navy of Genoa for assistance in rescuing the crew of Italian vessel Bianca C' destroyed by fire in the port of St. George. The sculpture was placed under water on October 22, 1961.
A third bronze from the original mold was presented to the Underwater Society of America in New York in 1962. On August 25 1965 it was placed approximately 25 feet off the waters of Key Largo, Florida. It is located around Dry Rocks, around six miles North east of Key Largo in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. While the statue weighs around 400 pounds, the concrete base to which it is attached weights about 20,000 pounds. Various other casts of the statue exist both under water and above water in churches and museums.
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The original clay statue minus the hands was located in a foundry in 1993. This is now on display with replacement hands at the National Museum of Underwater Activities in Ravenna, Italy.
You can read more about the statue at the
Artist's Room of the Cultural Museum at

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