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This artwork is derived from a photograph taken during a tour of Ecuador and parts of Central America.
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Shot taken April 6, 2010 in the capital, Quito, Ecuador of the statue that guards over Quito. This day I had decided I would have a close-up look of the Virgen De El Panecillo. This is an aluminum statue of the Virgin Mary made of panels about 18 inches square all bolted together that sits on a high round hill, like a small bread, (hence the name) and overlooks the city of Quito. The statue is 30 meters tall on an 11 meter base, weighing 124,000 kgs. You can enter the base and go up into the ball and exit onto the small terrace that surrounds it. Part of the base has several gorgeous stained glass windows. The view is a 360 panorama of the city where you can easily see several of Quito’s 76 churches.
El Panecillo (from Spanish panecillo small piece of bread) is a 200-meter-high volcanic-origin hill, between southern and central Quito. Its peak is at an elevation of 3016 meters above sea level. The original name used by the aboriginal inhabitants of Quito was Yavirac. According to Juan de Velasco, a Jesuit historian, on top of Yavirac there was a temple where the Indians used to worship the sun. This temple is said to have been destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors.
In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 45-meter-tall aluminum monument of a Madonna which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo. It is made of seven thousand pieces of aluminum. The monument was inaugurated on March 28, 1976, by the 11th archbishop of Quito, Pablo Muñoz Vega. The statue was engineered and erected by Anibal Lopez of Quito.
The virgin stands on top of a globe and is stepping on a snake, which of course is classic Madonna iconography. What is not so traditional is that she has wings. The people of Quito proudly claim that she is the only one in the world with wings like an angel. The monument was inspired by the famous “Virgen de Quito” (Quito’s Madonna) also known as “the dancer” sculpted by Bernardo de Legarda in 1734, which now decorates the main altar at the Iglesia de San Francisco down below the hill. This Madonna represents a turning point of the Quito School of Art (one of the most renowned of the Americas) because it shows a virgin with great movement that is practically dancing in contrast with the traditional static Madonnas that were produced during the 18th century. According to a bronze placard affixed to the monument, the woman represented by the statue is the Woman of the Apocalypse, as described in the Book of Revelation.
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito, is the capital and the second most populous city of Ecuador.
The central square of Quito is located about 25 km (15 miles) south of the equator.
Quito, along with Krakow, were the first Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.