The Christ Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain

Instituto Moreira Salles

Augusto Malta. View of Botafogo and Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. 1910

Augusto Malta (1864 - 1957) was born in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, and he was the main photographer of urban development in Rio in the early decades of the twentieth century, a period of rapid modernization. In 1903 Malta was hired as an "Official Photographer of the General Directorate of Works and Traffic of the Federal District City Hall", a position created especially for him by Mayor Pereira Passos (1902-1906), responsible for radical changes in the city. Malta was kept at this position for more than 30 years, he was making photographs for such big events as the inauguration of the statue of Cristo Redentor as well as the aspects of the everyday life.

An important part of the photographic documentation of Rio de Janeiro from this period was made by less known authors such as Jose Affonso dos Santos and S. H. Holland; and also by unknown photographers from such photographic companies as Rodrigues & C°, Editores e Proprietários (R.&Co Editors and Owners), whose names were omitted or by today anonymous authors. Because of their aesthetic and historical relevance, these artists-inventors are also part of the Instituto Moreira Salles collection.

Guilherme Santos (1871-1966), an amateur photographer, was one of the pioneers in stereoscopy in Brazil. He became interested in art in 1905, during a trip to Paris, and his most intense period of activity goes from 1910 to 1958. Free work commissioned, Santos develops a kind of "proto-photojournalism", strongly documenting the dynamics of the inhabitants of capital of the Republic: scans back invading newly built avenues, car accidents, festivals and historical moments, such as political demonstrations, the flight of the Graf Zeppelin, the dismantling of the Castle Hill and the opening Mass of Christ the Redeemer, in the presence President Getulio Vargas.

The statue Cristo Redentor is located at the top of the Corcovado Mountain, in the Tijuca National Park, Rio de Janeiro. It was inaugurated in 1931 in a viewpoint that already existed on the site, 709 meters above the sea level.

The Hungarian photographer Carlos Moskovics (1916-1988) left a collection of over 150,000 images, a remarkable set of social and artistic life of Rio de Janeiro between 1940 and 1970. In 1942 he founded the photo Carlos, a company that was at while agency, studio, laboratory. With this work commissioned large-scale Moskovics has the possibility of expanding its activities, including aerial photography, as the beautiful two images shown here.

Thomaz Farkas (1924-2011) was one of the most important names in a Brazilian modern photography. Living in São Paulo, he traveled frequently to Rio de Janeiro. This photograph was taken in 1947 on the top of the Corcovado mountain which portrays visitors and the Christ Redeemer at night, appearing, through a simple though beautiful game of shadows and light, it was a very powerful image of this already vastly captured iconic monument at that time. 

Since 2007 the Cristo Redentor was declared to be one of the new seven wonders of the world. Afterwards, in 2012 Rio de Janeiro, including its natural landscapes and monuments, has become the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Urban Cultural Landscape category.

Credits: Story

Joanna Balabram
Rachel Rezende
Sergio Burgi

Instituto Moreira Salles


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