Rugendas, Johann Moritz (1802–1858)

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Rugendas, Johann Moritz (1802–1858)

Johann Moritz Rugendas (b. 29 March 1802; d. 29 May 1858), German landscape painter who completed more than 5,000 paintings and drawings of the landscapes and peoples of Latin America between 1821 and 1847. He was not only an artist but also a historian, a scientist, and a geographer.

By far the most varied and important of the European artists to visit Latin America, Rugendas, a native of Augsburg, first journeyed there when he accompanied an expedition into the interior of Brazil led in 1821 by the Russian consul-general in Rio de Janeiro, Baron Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff. Rugendas left the expedition and traversed the Brazilian countryside for the next two years, drawing the landscapes, people, animals, and plants of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Espírito Santo, and Bahia. In 1823 he returned to Europe, and from 1827 to 1835, he published a four-part collection of lithographs from over 500 of these drawings of Brazil, Pictorial Journey Through Brazil.

In 1831, Rugendas returned to Latin America to complete drawings and watercolors of the people and countryside of the Mexican states of Morelia and Guerrero, and the regions near Teotihuacán, Xochimilco, and Cuernavaca. In 1833 he traveled to Chile, where he remained until 1845, drawing the countryside and people. He visited Argentina from 1837 to 1838, and from 1842 to 1844, Peru and Bolivia. In 1845 Rugendas moved on to Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two years later, after visiting Rio de Janeiro, he returned to Germany. He died in Weilheim, Germany.

See alsoGermans in Latin America .


Leopoldo Castedo, A History of Latin American Art and Architecture, translated by Phyllis Freeman (1969).

Johann Moritz Rugendas, Viagem pitoresca através do Brasil, translated by Sergio Milliet (1972).

Carlos Lemos, The Art of Brazil (1983).

Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Diener, Pablo. Rugendas: 1802–1858. Augsburg: Wissner, 1998.

Taunay, Aimé-Adrien, and Hercules Florence. Expedição Langsdorff ao Brasil, 1821–1829: Rugendas, Taunay, Florence. Rio de Janeiro: Edições Alumbramento: Livroarte Editora, 1998.

                                       Mary Jo Miles