Ernst Vollbehr is well-known for his long journeys across the continents, painting all the various geographical and ethnographical characteristics that he came across. The "painter of the tropics" visited Brazil twice. For his second visit he was commissioned by the Hamburg-America-Line to produce paintings which were to adorn two of their ocean steamers. Rio de Janeiro has one of the largest harbours in the world and is famous for its extensive views. It was Brazil's capital from 1822 up to 1960.