Alessandro Ciccarelli (1811–1879), Italy
View of Rio de Janeiro, ca. 1840
Oil on canvas
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
By omitting its large-scale architecture and industry, Ciccarelli presents Rio as a bucolic colonial town rather than the bustling international trading hub that he encountered upon his arrival in 1843. The artist organizes View of Rio de Janeiro using classical conventions, presenting a darkened foreground, a calm body of water in the center, and an idealized view of the Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains receding into the distance, all bathed in soft light. The Afro-Brazilian couple in the foreground wears classical Grecian dress and mark the scene as an Edenic paradise.