The French painter Nicolas-Antoine Taunay traveled to Brazil in 1816 and remained there until 1821. He was the first foreign artist with solid academic training to arrive in the Brazilian territory after Frans Post’s sojourn there in the early 17th century. He was invited to the country by the Portuguese King Joseph VI as a member of the so-called French Mission, whose purpose was the establishment of an academy of fine arts in the capital.
The painting represents a luminous tropical landscape in the area of Tijuca, where the artist lived during his stay in Brazil. This region is 20 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, the city that can be seen in the distance in the painting’s background.
Deftly operating with the principles of lineal and aerial perspective, and fixing his point of view within the hills known as Altos de Boa Vista, the artist extends his gaze until it becomes lost in the distance. The painter’s brush depicts a few animals in the foreground, as well as details of the tropical jungle’s exuberantly leafy vegetation and the landscape’s geographic diversity.