Current exhibitions

18th Century Rio, when Rio became the capital

In the 18th century Rio de Janeiro became the capital of the vice-kingdom of Brazil and effectively transformed into the great city that we know today: a meeting point between culture and commerce, a centre of urbanity and the privileged symbol of Brazilianness across the world. With the exhibition 18th Century Rio, when Rio became the capital, MAR celebrates the 450th anniversary of the city’s founding, proposing a visual path through which to enter this century of its history.

From 18th century Rio, from the Rio of gold, baroque and rococo, from the slaves of Valongo and from the palace of the viceroys, survivals remained.  Of the Rio that was destroyed, what is ungrateful heritage? Certainly it was in the 18th century that Rio ensured its aesthetic fame. The marvellous city unites natural beauty with urban beauty, an idea recurrent in adverts, political proposals and even criticisms. Also at that moment, the black population expanded, although always on the margins, and the natives, so important in the struggle for possession and foundation of the city together with the Portuguese, simply disappeared from records of Carioca development.

The city’s meeting with government is one of the strongest aspects of its 18th century history: the capital for almost two hundred years, Rio realised the relationship between power and money, religion, culture and social exclusion. Are there no longer viceroys, or have they simply changed their names? A century after slavery was abolished, are we free from its shadows? These are questions that this exhibition does not allow to remain silent, challenging any pretence to a natural order of things. Rio de Janeiro is a place privileged by nature, but it is also a consequence of its complex and contradictory history.

Carlos Gradim
President director at Instituto Odeon
Museu de Arte do Rio – MAR

Read more about the exhibition here

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite