Dear readers,

Hi! It is true that Rio is not Egypt. Some would say unfortunately, but this is because they don´t live in Egypt… I caught myself the other day thinking about the numerous references in Rio architecture concerning the human civilization that has impressed specialists so much over time – and continues to do it: the Ancient Egypt.

Let us visit, then, some Rio Downtown addresses where we can find these allusions.

Neoegyptian Sobrado
This 1910 sobrado, at Rua Pedro Alves, 40 and 42, in Santo Cristo neighbourhood, is among the city´s most inquisitive constructions. According to the excelent Guia da Arquitetura Eclética no Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro Eclectic Architecture Guide), published in 2000 by the City Hall, it is “a rare example of neoegyptian ornamentation naively applied”.


The main façade brings the sculpture of an egyptian deity, probably Hator, the egyptian goddess of Love, Beauty and Music.



A winged solar disc – named Horbehutet – appears here both in the fanlight and in the mortar bas-relief above it (seen in the detail, below).



We see above a winged scarab, an attribute of god Khepri, also related to solar god Ra. It is noticeable the inclusion of a shell, a symbol not very often associated with egyptian faith…


Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts)
Also the MNBA (Avenida Rio Branco, 199) carries in its façade, among many others, some decorative references to ancient civilizations, including Egypt. For more, please visit this and this post.

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One of the 8 beautiful terracota bas-reliefs made by sculptor Honório da Cunha e Mello (1879-1949) pays hommage to Egypt by picturing a sphinx and three pyramids, probably those of the egyptian city of Giza.


The blind façade of Rua Mexico brings four giant terracota panels, from english sculptor Edward Caldwel Spruce (1849-1923). Among them is the scene above, a moment in the daily life of Ancient Egypt.


Building alongside Avenida Rio Branco
This rich building at Rua do Ouvidor, 116 housed in the past the famous Ao Rei dos Mágicos House, owned by Antonio Ribeiro Chaves, a 19th century brazilian pionneer in communications. The present façade, altered afterwards, carries nowadays a very eclectic ornamentation, with medieval references, such as elms and helmets, as well as those here studied by us: two cast iron sculptures represent a pharaoh and an egyptian goddess, and the cast iron baluster is decorated with a phalcon and serpent winged scarab, attributes also related to the solar god Ra.



PETROS Headquarters
Finally, two metal bas-reliefs right above our heads ornate PETROS façade, at Rua do Ouvidor, 98. Although not particularly beautiful, they were executed by the important brazilian sculptor Bruno Giorgi (1905-1993). In one of them – seen here – we can notice the profiles of a sphinx and a pyramid, again inspired by the egyptian city of Giza.

See you in the next post!

3 Comentários

  1. Suggestion: use a drone to take photos of art pieces high above the ground in buildings.

  2. dominiqueperchet · · Responder

    comme toujours beau travail : mais d’où viennent les fontes du pharaon et la déesse ? et le balcon ? Le reste est bien sûr très intéressant

    1. Cher Dominique,
      Dans la semaine prochaine je pense d´aller faire quelques nouvelles photos du pharaon et de la déesse. Je suis en train d´écrire sur ce bâtiment.
      Je démande que tu m´attends un peu plus, d´accord?
      Merci pour tout!

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