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Monumento de Colón

Columbus Monument

Charles Cordier

Mexico /  Monumento de Colón


Built in 1876, this statue was erected during the Porfiriato to honor the great Christopher Columbus.

This Christopher Columbus monument is due to the munificence of Mr. Antonio Escandon, a rich banker of Mexico. He entrusted his nephew, Alejandro Arango y Escandon with the selection of the artist and the persons to be represented in the monument. In 1873, Arango commissioned the French sculptor Charles Cordier for the project. When the statue was finished in 1875, it was decided to show this statue first to the French public before sending it to Mexico, and the statue was temporary erected in Paris, in front of the "Palais de l'Industrie" near the Champs Elysées. A year later the statue was transported to Mexico where it was inaugurated in 1877.
The "Palais de l'Industrie" was erected for the "Paris 1855 universal exposition" and was later replaced by the "Grand Palais" and the "Petit Palais" built on the same site for the "Paris 1900 universal exposition".

In 1893, Nestor Ponce de Leon, the famous American Columbus investigator, wrote in his book Columbus gallery, page 111, correctly about the Mexico statue that is was previously exhibited at the Palais de l'Industrie (text here). However, on page 82, he had written: "There is in the Champs Elysées, at Paris, a statue by Cordier, which is much admired for its artistic merit. I will not describe it because it is a duplicate of the statue, by the same artist, surmounting the monument in the capital of the Republic of Mexico."
This was the beginning of a mistake which had a long life, and several people have looked for the whereabouts of Ponce de Leon's Paris statue. Even in the rather recent book by Rosanna Pavoni, Christophe Colomb: images d'un visage inconnu (Paris, 1990) is written about the Paris statue without clarifying where this statue presentely is.
Jean-Michel Urvoy did the research in 2004 and found out that Ponce de Leon was erroneous in stating that the Paris statue was a duplicate of the Mexico one: it is one and the same statue.

This monument on postcards

Click here for the postcard(s) and enlargement(s)


Sources & Information


Locatie (N 19°25'58" - W 99°9'16")

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Item Code: mx008; Added: 21 May 2006  / Updated: 9 September 2009

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