Courtyard at the Knights of Columbus Museum

Columbus, the Evangelizer

by Stanley Bleifeld, 2000

Columbus the Evangelizer, a bronze, by Stanley Bleifeld, dominates the museum’s outdoor courtyard and fountain. Stanley Bleifeld, the noted Connecticut sculptor, was commissioned by the Knights Columbus to sculpt a statue of Christopher Columbus for the new Knights of Columbus Museum that opened in the year 2001 in New Haven.

A nine-foot statue of Christopher Columbus holding aloft the cross of evangelization is situated on the terraced fountain of the new museum. It was mounted on a two-foot tall base of South African granite that sits at the top of a tiered and landscaped water fountain. In creating the statue, Bleifeld spent nearly a year studying Columbus and his legacy. He also looked at other statues and depictions of Columbus. In his final edition he chose to portray the faith brought by Columbus in bringing the news of salvation to all of mankind.

The beauty of the statue comes from its strength and resolve in demonstrating this commitment.

Columbus stands holding the cross of evangelization in his right hand, while his left arm remains stretched outward. He steps forward, raising his right leg to approach the shores of the New World. The Admiral is dressed in typical 15th century garb — a long cloak over a tunic-like garment that bears the emblematic cross of the Spanish monarchs. This is the cross that also appeared on the standard carried by Columbus onto the shores of the Americas while claiming them for Ferdinand and Isabella and all of Christendom.