A famous figure from Greek mythology, Atlas was a half-man, half-god giant known as a Titan, who helped lead a war against the Olympic gods. After the Titans' defeat, Atlas was condemned by Zeus to hold the Heavens on his shoulders to keep them separate from the Earth.
This renowned bronze sculpture is a successful collaboration between two talented artists, Lee Lawrie, who conceived the idea and designed the figure, and Rene Chambellan, who modeled the heroic-sized statue from Lawrie's sketch. The figure of Atlas, installed in 1937, is 15 feet tall, while the entire sculpture is 45 feet tall. It weighs 7 tons, and is the largest permanent sculpture at Rockefeller Center. The North-South axis of the celestial sphere he carries on his shoulders points towards the North Star as seen from New York City.