THE GREEN MEN FROM RIO

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44 Riachuelo Street.

On June 23rd, 2015 I wrote here about gargoyles.[1] The subject seemed so interesting that I decided to research a bit more. My main interest was the central gargoyle – a mist of a man, a bat and a frog – that decorates the façade of Castelinho Francês, in the neighborhood of Flamengo. I found nothing, though, about that identity. Would it be a politician? Could be – I thought –, since politicians, frogs and bats have all much in common…

The first time I visited the Old World, I was extremely surprised to notice the presence of hundreds of that fantastic “unchristian” figure in the decoration of many European gothic churches´ façades. But I could not suppose that, just as the gargoyles – their relatives -, these ornaments had also made Rio of the beginnings of the twentieth century their home.

I have already catalogued 20 of them hidden around. They have male faces, sometimes mixed with animals, and an excessive amount of leaves framing their faces.

But whom are we talking about, after all?

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721 Mariz e Barros Street, Tijuca.

If you read the title, you´re right! They are the GREEN MEN, a term first employed in English by Lady Raglan in 1939.[2]

As a suggestion, try entering the term GREEN MAN in Google Images…

It is employed as a decorative ornament in both civil and religious constructions. It is curious to realize that in Roslyn Chapel, in Scotland, famous thanks to the American writer Dan Brown and his book The Da Vinci Code, there are more representations of the Green Man that of Jesus Christ himself![2] The Green Man shows up 110 times!

The reader should also notice that, thanks to its “natural” nature – forgive the pun -, the ornament frequently shows up in eclectic buildings that are somewhat stylistically related to the art nouveau style – introduced in Europe by the ends of the nineteenth century and having drawn upon natural forms and curved organic lines.

Today´s post brings 15 green men, with their corresponding addresses, all located in Downtown Rio. I promise I´ll inform you, if I find some more…

If the reader wants to penetrate deeply into Rio´s concrete jungle in search of some hiding green man, he can do it without any fear. Despite the look, the green men are certainly much more tamed than the ones in flesh and bone…

See you!

[1] https://orioqueorionaove.com/2015/06/23/morcegos-dinossauros-gargulas-quimeras-dragoes/

[2] https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homem_Verde. Don´t miss it!

[3] Varner, Gary R. Gargoyles, Grotesques and Green Men. Ancient Symbolism in European And American Architecture. Estados Unidos: Lulu Press Inc., 2008.

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44 and 46, Rio Branco Avenue, Centro. Former Companhia Docas de Santos headquarters. Present Rio de Janeiro IPHAN headquarters. More about this building please visit https://orioqueorionaove.com/2012/11/06/a-fachada-do-iphan/ and https://orioqueorionaove.com/2012/09/19/iphan/

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57 Marechal Floriano Avenue, Centro.

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169 Senado, Street, Centro.

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252 Mém de Sá Avenue, Lapa.

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244 Senado Street, Centro. Former Fábrica de Perfumarias Lambert.

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Above and below: 145 Buenos Aires Street, Centro.

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45 Uruguaiana Street, Centro.

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203 Sacadura Cabral Street, Saúde.

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22 Relação Street, Centro. I´ve put this image in Portuguese Wikipedia, in the entry HOMEM VERDE.

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102 Mém de Sá Avenue, Lapa, one of the city´s most original eclectic carioca sobrados.

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70 Gonçalves Dias Street, Centro.

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54 André Cavalcanti Street, Centro.

 

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