Moving a Piano, Rio de Janeiro, 1858-1860

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This record was last updated on 10 Jun 2016

Image Reference

François-Auguste Biard, Deux Années au Brésil (Paris, 1862), p. 91

Captioned, "Déménagement d'un piano à Rio de Janeiro," the engraving shows six men who seem to be jogging while chanting as they transport a piano on their heads through the streets of Rio; they are part of a much larger group involved in moving someone’s household goods and furniture. Biard, a French painter, lived in Brazil for about two years, 1858-1860, and witnessed this scene soon after his arrival. The man on the right in the first row is the leader; he holds a type of rattle with which he keeps the beat of the work chant (pp. 89-90). Biard’s published account contains a number of images of slave life, several of which are included on this website. For a detailed study of Biard and his Brazilian sojourn, see Ana Lucia Araujo, Brazil through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics (University of New Mexico Press, 2015).