Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858) is considered the most peripatetic European artist in Latin America in the first half of the nineteenth century. The most important output of his journeys through the continent was Malerische Reise in Brasilien, an album published in instalments between 1826 and 1835. There has been a long debate among scholars about the racial disposition of the Bavarian artist. Opinions range from his defence as a racial egalitarian to a racialist artist. My project engages with this discussion by critically scrutinizing Rugendas’ Malerische Reise in Brasilien and other sources available at the Herzog August Bibliothek. My main aim is to settle the debate and determine the actual scope of Rugendas’ racial discourse conveyed through this album.

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