#19 & 20 Prospect from the summit of Mt. Corcovado, near Rio de Janeiro
Latin translation by Ben Hennelly
Each of the two etchings that I present to you under this title, kind reader, is a smaller imitation of a magnificent picture that my dear friend Thomas Ender, a companion on my journey, drew with his surpassing skill from the summit of Mt.Corcovado and, along with his other illustrations of regions in Brazil, committed to the keeping of the Viennese Academy of the Arts. They provide an outstanding view of how that most beautiful part of Rio de Janeiro's bay looks, the varied, truly grand character and shape of which is all but the stuff of common proverbs. But I must yet again lament that these my etchings, inasmuch as they lack color, stand deprived of the amazing loveliness of that pellucid sky, and the living warmth of its brilliance.
The upper part of Mt. Corcovado on the side facing the sea is precipitous and so steep that, to someone approaching from the ocean, it looks like a fragment of some immense ruin; the demonic force that long ago impressed upon the land its present form seems to have split the mountain asunder perpendicularly, in order to sink the other part in the sea's depths. No plant is able to take hold on these steep walls, which offer nothing but rocks of a purplish-white color, granite and foliaceous granite (in which apatites and garnets are encrusted here and there); these glitter with colors that vary with changes in the light, or are hidden by the clouds that pass before them.
On the side opposite from the ocean, toward the west and toward Africa, the mountain descends down several steps or, so to speak, banks to the bay and the city itself, whence the ascent is not difficult. The road from the city to the mountain top leads through cultivated hills, claimed from forest and marked off by hedges, up until the first embankment, where
A view of Carioca aqueduct from the suburb of Mato Cavallos
Resting on the wall of the aqueduct
we come across what they call the Carioca aqueduct, a magnificent work. Now you will pass through bare places, where the bright gleam of the sun reflects off deep-green tree fronds and grassy clumps adorned with flowers, now you will enter the pleasant cool of a dusky wood. After you have done this for a while, you will come to the place where the font itself, not yet enclosed within the arched sides of the conduit, descends from the forest freely across granite rocks; climbing from this point you will be encircled entirely by genuine, chaste nature.
Source of the Carioca aqueduct
Etching commentaries 19 and 20