Separated Lovers

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For me, the magic center of Rio de Janeiro is its Botanical Garden.

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But I should denounce the fact that this magical center harbors a tragic episode: the separation of two lovers.

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The lovers are still in the garden, the nymph Eco and Narciso

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But further from each other than when they were alive.

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The whole world knows that Eco was hopelessly in love with Narciso, who was hopelessly in love with himself.

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Eco defined love. So much so, the beautiful Nymph she was, that only her voice was left, her echo.

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The great Rio sculptor Master Valentine (Mestre Valentim, 1750-1813) decided to eternalize the exact moment Eco still had hopes of conquering Narciso.

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He made a majestic fountain of rocks that had bronze ducks in the middle of it, and statues of Eco and Narisco all around, each with their own water basin.

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Eco, on her pedestal, looked at Narciso.

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Narciso just looked in his basin of water, at his own reflection.

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There was no other way to sculpt Narciso.

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So Master Valentine did what he could with his beautiful fountain.

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Now all that’s left is artifacts of disconnected love, scattered about a garden in Rio.

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Our garden is not a garden anymore; without us it weeps.

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Excerpts of this text are from a placard bearing a description of the Amantes Separados sculptures in Rio’s Botanical Garden