Atlas (statue)

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Coordinates: 40°45′32.12″N 73°58′37.84″W / 40.7589222°N 73.9771778°W / 40.7589222; -73.9771778

New York City, May 2014 - 033.JPG
Artist Lee Lawrie
Year 1937 (1937)
Type Bronze
Dimensions 14 m (45 ft)
Location New York, New York, United States

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 (4.6 m) tall, while the entire statue is 45 feet (14 m) tall,[1][2] as high as a four-story building. It weighs 7 tonnes (7,000 kg),[3] and is the largest sculpture at Rockefeller Center.[4] The North-South axis of the armillary sphere on his shoulders points towards the North Star as seen from New York City.[5]

When Atlas was unveiled in 1937, some people protested, claiming that it looked like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Later, painter James Montgomery Flagg said that Atlas "looks too much as Mussolini thinks he looks".[6]

The piece has since been appropriated as a symbol of the Objectivist movement[7] and has been associated with Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged (1957).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Examples of Art Deco in New York City". 
  2. ^ "Atlas sculpture by Lee Lawrie". 
  3. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2008-05-04). "Bringing a Smile (Well, a Shine) to a Burdened Statue of Atlas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Atlas (Statue in New York)". 
  5. ^ "Art: Rockefeller Atlas". Time. 1937-01-11. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  6. ^ Dianne L. Durante. Outdoor monuments of Manhattan: a historical guide. p. 141. 
  7. ^ "History of Atlas Shrugged". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]