The Virgin of the Panecillo rises on top of the 200-meter-high El Panecillo hill at the center of Quito, Ecuador. The statue is a far larger replica of Bernardo de Legarda’s 12-inch-tall wooden sculpture known as the Virgin of Quito, the Virgin of the Apocalypse, the Winged Virgin of Quito, or the Dancing Virgin. Made in 1734, it was a venerated sculpture in the Quito School of Art as well as among the religious heads of the country. Therefore, the religious members of Quito decided to erect a taller replica of this sculpture on top of El Panecillo Hill between 1971 and 1975.
Virgin of the Panecillo is the tallest aluminum statue as well as the tallest image of the Virgin Mary in the world.
For the monumental statue, the Spanish sculptor Agustín de la Herrán Matorras built a 98-foot-tall replica of the Virgin of Quito. It consisted of 7,400 separate pieces of aluminum. Then, the Spanish sculptor disassembled the statue and shipped it to Ecuador from his studio in Madrid. Together with the concrete base, the statue measures 41 meters (135 feet), making it the highest statue in the country. It is also one of the highest statues in South America, surpassing the height of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.