Between Iron and Flora: Ecocritical Views on the Sculpture of Narcissus in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro

Document Type : Original Article


1 Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (University)

2 Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (University)


This article is based on contemporary artistic perception, document records, and historical studies on the sculptural ensemble, Narcissus, the hunter, and Echo, the nymph, in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. The study draws upon investigative sources regarding the myth of Narcissus, sculptural art, and the eighteenth-century urbanist project of Europeanization which, in addition to aesthetic beauty, aimed at maintaining order from a cultural perspective. The article attempts to analyze the relationships between myth, literature, sculpture, and architecture/urbanism in past and present media forms of the work. In an intermedial interaction between the sculpture and literature, selected literary texts are examined to highlight the artistic message of this work by Mestre Valentim who represented a worldview specific to the time when the sculptural ensemble was constructed. The article draws upon intermedia studies, ecocriticism, and concepts of the Anthropocene and Post-Anthropocene.