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The making of Mario Lemieux's statue

| Thursday, March 8, 2012

Master sculptor Bruce Wolfe spent 15 months conceptualizing and crafting "Le Magnifique," the statue of Penguins icon Mario Lemieux that was unveiled Wednesday at the Trib Total Media gate at Consol Energy Center.

Wolfe, 70, said he is as pleased with this piece as the statue he produced of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -- especially the presentation of Lemieux's face circa 1988, and the color of the statue.

"It makes a big difference in the piece," Wolfe said of the darker bronze finish. "I was thinking of the skating Penguin logo on there, and it being black, yellow and white, and I made the decision that everything had to be black and with a shine. We used three coats of lacquer to protect it."

Wolfe said the statue would preserve its current look if waxed every three months.

The Penguins' intention for Lemieux's statue was to capture him at his athletic best — "that hop step, which was always his signature move while accelerating," chief operation officer Travis Williams said.

Other pose possibilities were Lemieux taking a slap shot with his leg kicked up and Lemieux carrying the puck near the boards.

The inclusion of two other players will not please everybody, but Williams said an unintended benefit is the six points of contact with the statue base provided by the three players.

"Bruce was relieved when we picked the three-player design because this structure is sturdier," Williams said. "One of the things we were worried about is if there is a Stanley Cup celebration — which we expect there to be more of those — if people start celebrating on it, we want the statue to stay up."

For this reason the Penguins have instructed Wolfe to keep the mold. Better safe than sorry with a statue of the boss.

Photo Galleries

Mario Lemieux statue

Mario Lemieux statue

A look at the construction of the new statue of former Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux in front of Consol Energy Center.

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