12 October 2011
Last updated at 14:25
The statue of Christ the Redeemer has towered over Rio de Janeiro for 80 years, becoming a symbol not only of the city but of Brazil. It has been photographed by millions of tourists.
But the statue's location itself, the Corcovado or Hunchback Mountain, had long attracted photographers in its own right. This image from around 1865, part of a collection from the Moreira Salles Institute, shows the mountain and a much less densely populated Rio.
By the early years of the 20th Century, the Corcovado was definitely on the tourist trail, as this image from 1905 shows.
The 710m (2,300ft) high Corcovado was the place to take in Rio and its breathtaking bays. The Christ statue would be built at the same angle as the viewing point to gaze out over the city.
A cog train built at the end of the 19th Century helped get visitors up and down the mountain. This photograph dates from that era, commissioned to document the profound urban changes taking place in what was still Brazil's capital.
Rio de Janeiro's growth and development can be seen in this picture from 1903, as ever with the looming Corcovado dominating the skyline.
1931 marks a watershed year when Rio's landscape would change yet more dramatically. Still encased in scaffolding, the statue was attracting photographers ahead of its inauguration on 12 October 1931.
For the past 80 years, the statue of Christ has been the reference point for Rio. Part of the fascination is that the statue, itself nearly 40m high, was built on top of the mountain. "Today it is seen as a great feat of engineering," says Sergio Burgi, photographic co-ordinator of the Moreira Salles Institute.
The statue was declared one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. From its vantage point, with a view of sea, forest and mountains, the inequalities that have grown over the years in Rio recede. "Distance softens the contrasts," says Sergio Burgi.