The Angel Moroni statue was placed atop the Rome Italy Temple on Saturday morning, but a video released by Mormon Newsroom on Wednesday revealed that 13 other statues were placed inside the temple’s visitors' center. It was originally announced in 2012 that full-size marble replica statues would be installed of the Christus and twelve apostles, originally sculpted by Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen in Italy during the early 19th century.
“One of the things that was important to us was to do something that would make this part of the country but more importantly for recognizing the Savior, Jesus Christ. What more perfect symbol of the Savior and our belief in him could we do than to bring that here to this place,” Mark Lusvardi, director of public programs for the LDS Church, said in the video.
The marble for the statues was extracted from Cave Michelangelo, the quarry in Carrera, Italy, where the marble for Thorvaldsen’s original sculptures was mined. The LDS Church was given permission to digitally reproduce Thordvaldsen’s work. Lusvardi explains in the video that the statues’ placement in the visitors center will share a message with all who enter.
“That’s also part of the message of the whole visitors' center here,” Lusvardi said. “We’ll learn not only about Christ and the calling of the original Twelve but we know that we have prophets and apostles today.”
The originals are housed in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, nearly 1,000 miles away from the Rome Italy Temple.
“Using the digital imagery as a guide, each marble slab will be cut into the basic shape of the statues using water jets. From there, the statues will be taken to the Cave of Michelangelo's Studi d'art where the final details will be carved by hand under the direction of artist Luciano Massari,” the Deseret News reported in 2012.