Atlas at the Rock
Atlas is a bronze statue in front of Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, New York City, across Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick's Cathedral. The sculpture depicts the Ancient Greek Titan Atlas holding the heavens. It was created by sculptor Lee Lawrie with the help of Rene Paul Chambellan, and it was installed in 1937.The sculpture is in the Art Deco style, as is the entire Rockefeller Center. Atlas in the sculpture is 15 feet tall, while the entire statue is 45 feet tall, as high as a four-story building. It weighs seven tons, and is the largest sculpture at Rockefeller Center. The North-South axis of the armillary sphere on his shoulders points towards the North Star as seen from New York City.
When Atlas was unveiled in 1937, some people protested, claiming that it looked like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Later, painter James Montgomery Flagg said that Atlas "looks too much as Mussolini thinks he looks".
The piece has since been tied with Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged and is often used as a symbol of the Objectivist movement, despite the statue's origins predating the book's publishing by two decades.