The Angel of the North is a steel sculpture of an angel, located in Gateshead in a prime location on a panoramic hilltop, overlooking the A1 and A167 roads and the East Coast Main Line rail route.
Rising 20 metres from the earth it is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world. It is seen by more than one person per second, 90,000 each day or 33 million people every year making the Angel of the North one of the most viewed pieces of art in the World. The Angel of the North is also one of the most famous artworks in the regions. Two thirds of people in the North East had already heard of the Angel of the North before it was completed in 1998.
According to Anthony Gormley, the designer, the significance of an angel was three-fold: firstly, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; secondly, to grasp the transition from an industrial to an information age; and thirdly, to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears.
The plaque beside the angel reads;
"The hilltop site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark.... It is important to me that the Angel is rooted in the ground—the complete antithesis of what an angel is, floating about in the ether. It has an air of mystery. You make things because they cannot be said."
This writing pays homage to the central idea of the statue to represent the past, present, and the changing times of the nation.
The total cost to build the Angel of the North was £800,000. At 54 metres (175 foot) the wingspan is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet and is almost the same as a Jumbo jet. 20 metres high (65 feet) it is the height of a five-storey building or four double decker buses. The Angle of the North weighs 200 tonnes – the body is 100 tonnes and the wings 50 tonnes each.
The sculpture is expected to last more than 100 years. It has been built to withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour. Below the sculpture, enormous concrete piles 20 metres deep anchor it to the solid rock beneath.
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