When you think of angels, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Big wings, beautiful feathers, pure and flawless iconic white appearance… these are what angels look like in traditional concepts. The angel sculpture I am going to introduce today may break your perception, because it is not carved from marble or cast from bronze, but is made from a unique metal material—corten steel. This angel statue does not have exquisite wings or a divine face, but it “carries” a huge responsibility on its shoulders and is called “the Angel of the North.” Considered to be the most iconic contribution to date, this monumental sculpture of an angel sits on a large piece of land near Gateshead, England.
Who Built the Angel of the North Sculpture
Antony Gormley, a great artist born in 1950, was at the forefront of a generation of celebrated British artists that emerged in the 1980s, with his work found in the United States, Japan, Australia, Norway and Ireland. He once said: “I want to make an object that can become a focus of hope during the painful transition period for the people of the Northeast who were abandoned between the industrial age and the information age.” This object is the Angel of the North sculpture.
Why the Angel of the North Was Built
The Angel of the North received widespread attention during and in the years following its completion, becoming a very important public corten steel sculpture that has even come to be regarded as a symbol of their hometown. But why build this giant metal angel?
The vast land on which The Angel of the North Sculptur is located was a coal mine pit bath. As time went by, the place became idle and the local government wanted to modernize it. The council hopes to come up with a work of art that reflects the site’s rich history and calls for “a millennial figure that will become an icon and guardian of our town”.
“People always ask, why angels? The only answer I can give is that no one has ever seen an angel and we need to keep imagining them. Angels have three functions – the first is a historic function that reminds us of what is happening on this website below Coal miners have worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to capture the future and express our transition from the industrial age to the information age, and finally to become the focus of our hopes and fears – sculpture is an ever-evolving thing.”
Why Is the Angel of the North Sculpture so Famous?
Gormley encountered many challenges and controversies throughout the planning and construction process, but persevered in the end. The Angel of the North sculpture’s looming silhouette against the UK skyline holds special significance to the people of Gateshead and the thousands of visitors who flock to it every year. Let me tell you some amazing numerical facts about this angel.
1.The Angel of the North cost £800,000 ($1.5 million) to make.
2.The Angel of the North is the world’s largest angel sculpture, with a wingspan of 54 meters, larger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet aircraft. It is 20 meters high–the same height as a five-story building or four double-decker buses.
3.It is very heavy, weighing 200 tons, of which the body of the angel sculpture weighs 100 tons and the wings weigh 50 tons each.
4.The Angel of the North is crafted from corten steel for extremely durable quality and will last for over 100 years.
5.It can withstand winds of over 100 miles per hour.
6.There are large concrete piles 20 meters deep beneath the sculpture.
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