The Langsdorff Expedition

October 18, 2013

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In 1821, when Baron Langsdorff, Consul General of Russia in Brazil at that time, accepted the challenge to set up an expedition to the tropical areas of Brazil, he only dreamed of what he could find. Today, nearly 200 years later, people in Brazil can go on their own expedition and see the nature and Brazilian society portrayed in what has become one of the most important scientific expeditions of the nineteenth century. By mixing technological resources and the zeitgeist of that time, the Langsdorff Expedition reveals, through art, the discoveries made by the expedition in the fields of botany, zoology, cartography and anthropology. In addition to the 120 wash drawings and other types of drawings made by artists that accompanied the expedition – Rugendas, Taunay and Florence -, the exhibition brings astronomical navigation instruments used at that time, such as sextants and chronometers, and the predecessor of the camera, the camera obscura. And it also includes a resource which superimposes the famous cartographic maps of Rubtsov onto current Google Maps of the region. All this lulled with readings of excerpts from Langsdorff’s journal, thus creating an atmosphere of immersion in the trip and in time. And to complete the epic character of the exhibition, several computer terminals give the public access to the database of the expedition’s complete collection, which totals more than 1,000 watercolours and ethnographic objects that belong to public and private collections worldwide. An exhibition of Brazil’s historical and emotional archeology, which shows incredibly well preserved works, stored for nearly two centuries in Russia and which now return to Brazil due to the collective effort of Arte A Produções and the Russian government, which provided the expedition’s collection that belongs to the Naval Archive of Russia and the Royal Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.


  • São Paulo: 02.23 to 04.25.2010 – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
  • Brasília: 05.11 to 07.18.2010 – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
  • Rio de Janeiro: 08.03 to 11.26.2010 – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

Check [here] what was published about it.




  • Prof. Dr. Boris N. Komissarov
  • Ania Rodríguez Alonso
  • Rodolfo de Athayde
  • Curatorship Assistant

  • Laura Cosendey
  • Director

  • Dra. Irina Túnkina
  • General Coordination

  • Rodolfo de Athayde
  • Executive Production

  • Ione Alves
  • Jennifer McLaughlin
  • Production Assistants

  • Joaquim Pedro dos Santos
  • Isabela Sanchez
  • Virginia Manfrinato