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  1. ITV Report

Sculptor creates 'micro-Christ' in World Cup tribute

The Christ the Redeemer statue created by Willard Wigan. Photo: J and A Fine Art

A British 'microsculptor' has shown his appreciation for the World Cup by recreating the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue - so small it fits inside the eye of a needle.

Willard Wigan, who already has an MBE for his extraordinary work, told ITV News: "About six and a half weeks ago I thought, 'the World Cup's coming up, I'll do something to commemorate it - perhaps it'll say a little prayer for England'."

The master craftsman certainly has some pedigree - his previous work includes a sculpture of the Last Supper, also inside the eye of a needle, a 24-carat gold motorbike smaller than the width of a human hair and a precisely proportioned coronation crown smaller than a full stop.

Willard Wigan MBE inspecting one of his micro-tools. Credit: J and A Fine Art

The 57-year-old's sculpting method was highly unusual, to say the least, and it took him almost six weeks to create his mini-statue.

First he had to break off a microscopic shard of diamond that would act as his "scalpel" to sculpt a tiny fragment of stone into something resembling the iconic statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Another of Willard's masterpieces - the Last Supper inside the eye of a needle. Credit: J and A Fine Art

He then set about very, very gently scraping away at the surface of the stone with the aid of a microscope.

The work is so delicate that Willard had to work in between his own heartbeats to avoid the slightest reverberations.

The mini-crown is so small it sits comfortably on a pinhead. Credit: J and A Fine Art

Once the sculpting was finished he decided to paint it.

With millimetre-long brushes somewhat hard to come by, Willard turned to the animal world for help, picking a hair from a dead fly to apply the finishing touches to his project.

For all the pride in his work, Willard says recreating the Brazilian icon was a thankless task.

Working on this molecular level is very painstaking, I never enjoy doing the things, they send you insane doing them, you're controlling your whole nervous system and you're working between your heartbeat and you're sweating in case anything goes wrong.