EGBARio: the Academy Salons in the Brazilian artistic system

Fabriccio Miguel Novelli Duro (PhD student/ ENS-PSL)
, updated on
17 April 2023

During the 19th century, the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of Brazil organized a series of art exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro. Between 1840 and 1884, more than three thousand artworks were shown to the public in its palace.

From 1840 onwards, the art exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of Brazil were no longer limited to the professors and students of the institution, welcoming the artworks of other artists, whether Brazilian or not. The exhibitions became Exposições Gerais - "General Exhibitions" in English - as the director Félix-Émile Taunay had named them.

Emil Bauch. Ceremony for the distribution of awards to the exhibiting artists of the 1859 General Exhibition in the Art Gallery of the Imperial Academy, March 15, 1860. Illustrirte Zeitung, 1860. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

The twenty-six "salons" organized between 1840 and 1884 served national purposes at the same time that they became the space for the circulation of artists and artistic objects from other geographical spaces. Artists of other nationalities, whether they had settled or not in Rio de Janeiro, showed their works to the public, sometimes winning awards from the Brazilian institution. Collectors could also exhibit the artworks they owned, whether they were contemporary works, called "modern", or produced in previous centuries, called "ancient".

Page from the "painting" section of the 1879 General Exhibition catalog. Biblioteca Nacional, Brésil.

The EGBARio project 

The EGBARio project (General Exhibitions of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro) is created within the framework of a doctoral research developed by Fabriccio Miguel Novelli Duro, whose aim is to understand the articulatory role of general exhibitions in the emerging Brazilian art system, between the academy, artists, art critics, collectors and the public. Wishing to disseminate the results of his thesis, EGBARio aims to make available online a database built by transcribing the catalogs of general exhibitions, quantitative analyses and visualizations created by digital tools.

Angelo Agostini. Caricature from the 1879 General Exhibition, published in the Revista Illustrada. Biblioteca Nacional, Brésil.

The team

This doctoral research is developed with research funding from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Brazil) at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP, Brazil) and the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA, France).

  • Grant number: 19/10191-4 - The general exhibitions (1840-1884) in the articulation of the artistic system in Rio de Janeiro
  • Grant number: 21/15198-7 - The Brazilian artistic scene of the 19th century in context: the general exhibitions (1840-1884) of Rio de Janeiro through the prism of transnational artistic circulations