The Statues of Cultural Icons in Rio

By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Every city marks its history with monuments and statues, and Rio is no different. Throughout the Cidade Maravilhos there are icons honoring historical figures such as of nobleman and battle officers, however the majority of statues are of artists and musicians who helped shape the city’s culture.

The statue of Michael Jackson in Morro Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

The statue of Michael Jackson in Morro Santa Marta in Botafogo, photo courtesy of Alexandre Macieira/RioTur.

Typical bronze statues of great writers, poets, composers and idealists are found throughout all of the neighborhoods from park benches to city sidewalks.

Perhaps one of the most recognizable bronze statue in Rio de Janeiro to visit is of Michael Jackson in Morro Santa Marta (or Dona Marta) in Botafogo.

The statue of the “King of Pop” was created by cartoonist Ique, who has also designed other statues around the city, and is in the same location where the music video for “They Don’t Really Care About Us” was filmed in 1996.

The statue was inaugurated a year after Jackson’s death in 2010 and also has a nearby mosaic by Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto.

In Leme the statue of famous samba composer Ary de Resende Barroso is found outside a bar and is of him sitting at a table connected to it with two seats to snap some photos. Also along the beach in Copacabana another famous composer Carlos Drummond de Andrade sits on a bench with a quote that says, “No mar estava escrita uma cidade.”

Statue of Pixinguinha located in Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

Statue of Pixinguinha located in Centro, photo courtesy of Pedro Kirilos/RioTur.

Near Posto 6 in Copacabana is another bronze statue carrying a violin case of Dorival Caymmi, an influential singer, violinist and actor from Salvador, Bahia.

At the entrance of the Vila Isabel neighborhood and samba school is the statue of Noel Rosa, an influential samba composer and poet whose birthplace was in this region of Zona Norte (North Zone). The statue entitled “Poeta da Vila” is of the composer sitting at a table being waited on by a server.

Another significant statue in Vila Isabel is of Braguinha, or Carlos Alberto Ferreira Braga, which pays homage to the legendary composer.

Amidst the tall historical monuments in Centro is the statue of Pixinguinha, a legendary figure for popular music in Brazil playing the saxophone located along Travessa do Ouvidor.

Atop the Pão de Açúca (Sugarloaf) are two statues of Augusto Ferreira Ramos and Cristóvão Leite de Castro, both engineers who built the cables to visit the famous gondola landmark.

A wealth of journalists is commemorated around the city as well. A recent bronze statue was installed in 2010 for TV Globo’s Abelardo Barbosa de Medeiros, or “o Chacrinha,” located in Jardim Botânico on Rua General Garzon. The monument shows the presenter wearing a bow tie and a large top hat holding a microphone in one hand and a piece of cod in another hand.

Journalist and author Otto Lara Resende is also found in Jardim Botânico standing at a desk holding a magazine with an inviting smile on his face. A life size statue of prestigious columnist for O Globo, Zózimo Barroso do Amaral, can be found in Leblon of him standing at a podium.

Still, Aline Takano, of Free Walking Tours says Centro is her favorite area to see statues and explains, “during the Free Walker Tours we go to Praça XV and Cinelândia so we can see some statues important for Brazilians’ history. The General Osório and Marechal Floriano Peixoto are some of them.”

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