The statue of Christ the Redeemer, Mount Ortobene, Nuoro, Sardinia
Pope Leo XIII, wanting to commemorate the 1900 Holy Jubilee Year with a legacy that would last long into the future, ordered the mounting of nineteen statues or crosses dedicated to Christ the Redeemer, one for each century of Redemption, over the most significant peaks of every region of Italy.
For Sardinia, Mount Ortobene was chosen.
In 1899, a committee chaired by Bishop Demartis was formed in Nuoro in order to raise the necessary funds and execute the construction of the monument. Attorney Mura, a member of the committee and a leading figure, suggested the appointment of the famous Vincenzo Jerace as the sculptor. Jerace was from Calabria but resident in Naples. The explicit request from the committee was for ‘a masterpiece, not just any ordinary statue’.
The agreement was soon reached. The artist said that he would sculpt the statue for free, while the committee would cover the costs of the bronze casting and the transportation from Naples to Nuoro.
The inauguration of the statue, the most imposing in Sardinia (over seven metres high), took place on 29 August 1901. The sculptor was not able to attend the ceremony because of the untimely death of his beloved wife Luisa Jerace, Countess Pompeati, who died at the young age of 27 years.
Vincenzo Jerace, devastated by his loss, engraved on the palm of the right hand of the Redeemer the dedication: ‘To Luisa Jerace, who died while her Vincenzo was sculpting this statue’.
In 1905, the Sardinians dedicated a plaque to Luisa Jerace with an epigraph written by Grazia Deledda on 26 April 1902.
The following words are written on the bronze plaque on the statue’s pedestal:
To Jesus Christ God, who brought us salvation by sacrificing himself – Year 1901 – The Sardinians – Pope Leo XIII
The face of Father’s mercy – special Jubilee of Mercy 2016 – Pope Francis
The Committee of Monte Ortobene Ultima Spiaggia 1901-2011