The Atlas of Rockefeller Center

by Jeff Cornish July. 01, 2010 4223 views

Atlas is a bronze statue in front of Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, New York City, across Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick's Cathedral. The sculpture depicts the Ancient Greek Titan Atlas holding the heavens. It was created by sculptor Lee Lawrie with the help of Rene Paul Chambellan, and it was installed in 1937.

The sculpture is in the Art Deco style, as is the entire Rockefeller Center. Atlas in the sculpture is 15 feet tall, while the entire statue is 45 feet tall, as high as a four-story building. It weighs seven tons, and is the largest sculpture at Rockefeller Center. The North-South axis of the armillary sphere on his shoulders points towards the North Star as seen from New York City.

When Atlas was unveiled in 1937, some people protested, claiming that it looked like Mussolini. Later, painter James Montgomery Flagg said that Atlas “looks too much as Mussolini thinks he looks”.

The statue is sometimes associated with the Objectivist movement , in reference to the work Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, although the statue precedes the movement.


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Trish 11 years, 2 months ago

awesome shot...great angle

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Joe 11 years, 2 months ago

Wonderful picture Jeff. Thanks for the information

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Moira 11 years, 2 months ago

TFS this part of your world.

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Darlene Foster 11 years, 2 months ago

Great shot and information!

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Ray King 11 years, 2 months ago

Great shot! Wonderful piece.

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Brenda Nelson 11 years, 2 months ago

Wonderful angle for the shot and I like the sun flare on the window which seems to add power to the image! You're really making me want to go...

11 years, 2 months ago Edited
Agnes Felber 11 years, 2 months ago

Great perspective on this iconic image of Manhattan!

11 years, 2 months ago Edited