Escadaria Selarón – Selaron’s Staircase – A Mosaic Tile Masterpiece in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Many of us talk about labors of love, but Jorge Selarón has been tirelessly decorating the St Teresa staircase in the Lapa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for over 20 years. This massive living artwork, which is now known as Escadaria Selarón, or Selaron’s stiarcase, is 125 meters high and includes colorful tiles from all over the world.

You may have seen Escadaria Selarón without even knowing it: the mad sculptor \ painter Selaron has gained international acclaim for his mosaic tile street art – recently being featured as part of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Bid video “The Passion Unites Us” (1:48), The U2 music video “Walk On” (1:55) and “Beautiful” by Snoop Dogg (0:25).

Seeing the staircase on screen and in person are two entirely different experiences – videos don’t capture the warmth and excitement of the artist’s community in Lapa, show the sense of awe that people feel when visiting the Escadaria, or give a sense of the genius of the artwork evident in the details. If you ever find yourself in Rio de Janeiro, take a quick break from the beach because this masterpiece is a definite must see!

If you would like to licence any of the Escadaria Selaron images as stock photos, click on the images below.

Brazil I Love You Artwork by Jorge Selarón featuring his head on his signature Pregnant Woman

Mosaic Tiles of Escadaria Selarón form the Brazillian Flag

Escadaria Selarón – Selaron’s Staircase in the Lapa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro

Selaron Brazil World Cup Mural 2010 at the bottom of the Staircase

One of many cats on Selaron’s Staircase

A napping stray cat on the Escadaria Selarón staircase

At the top of Jorge Selaron’s staircase, the color ends, and the boring begins

One of the many houses on the side of Selaron’s Staircase

The 3 Musketeers on Escadaria Selarón

Escadaria Selarón – Coca-Cola and Michelin tiles – Anyone can send in tiles for Selaron to use

The hallway leading to Selaron’s studio, next to the staircase

An unusual tile of a woman with three breasts in the Brazilian flag at the top of the stairs

The stairs are unusually dull when you look at them from above

Escadaria Selarón – A Mad Painter Selaron’s Lifelong Obsession

Escadaria Selarón – a tile depicting a Native American Hawk catching a fish

A Diptych of Selaron’s Pregnant Woman in English and Brazillian – The text describes Life in the Favela (slum village)

Tiles on Selaron’s Staircase from Atlanta, Georgia

Brazil I love You – Brasil Eu Te Amo Selaron

A video I found on YouTube showing the genius and the madness of the artist Jorge Selaron. My high school Spanish skills (Selarón is from Chile) tell me that he is talking about how no one used to visit the staircase and how he couldn’t sell any paintings before he started adding red tiles to the staircase. After he started adding red tiles in 2000, his masterpiece started getting noticed.


  • Iordana Ferent -


    Thank you. Wonderful photos, amazing place! I have just learned about it watching Discovery Travel & Living!

  • I had met Jorge in 2004 and visited him every year. I still feel his loss. He was a friend of mine. Can’t imagine such huge talent just gone. What will be the future of those beautiful steps, no one knows. What a waste. I get the feeling he was murdered.

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