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Allegory of the River: gold and iron oxide

Terracota ceramic, gold leaf, wood, c-print
51 x 36 x 7 cm each frame
2021

"Historia Naturalis Brasiliae" was a seminal Western work on Brazilian botany, zoology and indigenous medicine, written by the Dutch doctor Willem Piso and the German naturalist George Mcgrave. The publication was commissioned by the Dutch West Indias Company while in search for gold and silvery in the San Francisco River. Publishing house Elsevier launched the work in 1648.

"Allegory of the River: gold and iron oxide", uses as a point of departure one detail of the illustration that introduces the botanical work: a terracota vase with golden edges, held by what looks like a minor European god representing the river, from which river's sweet water and their riches flow freely out.  There are, at the side of the river god, two indigenous witnesses posing for the picture, framing the riches that the river is displaying.

An original copy of Historia Naturalis Brasiliae is archived at the Biblioteca Publica do Porto, Portugal.

Work commissioned by Galeria Municipal do Porto, for the exhibition "The Hour Before Sunset", curated by Juan Luis Toboso

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