Edson Arantes do Nascimento – known to the world as Pelé – was unarguably one of the world’s greatest-ever footballers. At Castle Fine Art we worked with the icon to create Pelé: Life, Art, Football, a collection of photographic images of the legendary player, plus artistic interpretations of his life and work. The collection includes photographic pieces which highlight some of Pelé’s most iconic moments on the pitch – his iconic bicycle kick executed successfully against Belgium in 1968 and the famous save made by Gordon Banks in the 1970 England vs Brazil match.
The body of work conveys not just his skills on the field, but his rise from humble beginnings, his journey to fame and the humility and passion of the man behind the legend. Each limited edition artwork and photograph is hand-signed by Pelé himself.
Some of our other artists have created Pelé-inspired artwork in their own inimitable styles, from a bold neon sculpture depicting the famous number 10 shirt to darker, more provocative pieces which capture the football icon’s journey from humble beginnings to global fame.
Read on to learn more about Pelé’s legendary rise to fame and the creation of the fine art photographic prints.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento - better known as Pelé - was the most celebrated football player in history and perhaps the most popular, exciting athlete the world has ever known. A native of Brazil, Pelé enjoyed a professional career during which he scored 1,283 goals in 1,366 matches.
Pelé was born on October 23rd 1940 to Dondinho and Dona Celeste in Três Corações, Brazil. Pelé's father was a local professional football player who held the distinction of scoring five header goals in one game. Pelé junior’s youthful football talents were spotted by former Brazilian World Cup player, Waldemar de Brito, who took him to Santos, a club team on the coast of Brazil. Pelé started his professional career at the age of 16 for Santos Futebol Clube, scoring a goal in his first official game and shortly after, he joined the Brazilian national team.
In 1958, the 17-year-old was selected to play for the team at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Pelé missed the first two games of the tournament with a knee injury, but made up for lost time by scoring the game-winning goal in the quarter-finals and a hat trick in the semi-finals. After Pelé's two goals against Sweden in the final, his teammates lifted the child prodigy who earned another nickname, ‘The King’, onto their shoulders and hoisted their country's first Jules Rimet trophy.
The 1958 World Cup revealed the greatness of Pelé to the world, but more was to come. He became the youngest-ever member of a World Cup-winning team and the youngest scorer in a World Cup Final. He later led Brazil to two more World Cup titles, in 1962 (Chile) and 1970 (Mexico). As of today, Pelé is the only football player to have won three World Cup tournaments and he remains the top scorer in the history of the Brazilian National team with 77 goals.
In 1975, after 18 years with Santos FC where he won multiple international and national trophies, he joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL). During his three years in New York, Pelé led the Cosmos to the 1977 NASL title and brought great excitement to football and inspiration to young players in the United States. He capped his career with an emotional farewell game on October 1st, 1977, in a sold-out Giants Stadium, playing the first half with the Cosmos and the second half for Santos.
Since his retirement from football, Pelé continued to make positive contributions to the game and travelled the world to interact with his fans. Named one of the “Top 20 Most Important People of the 20th Century” (Time Magazine) and “Football Player of the Century” (FIFA), Pelé maintained his commitment to the sport and to society by fulfilling various roles as spokesperson, ambassador and philanthropist. In 2014, he was awarded the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition of his dazzling career and achievements.
Silver gelatin prints are the most usual way of making black and white prints from negatives. They This method usesare papers coated with a layer of gelatin which contains light sensitive silver salts (halides). Because the silver image is suspended in a gelatin emulsion that rests on a pigment-coated paper, silver gelatin prints are sharply defined and highly detailed in comparison to other forms of printing in which the image is absorbed directly into the fibres of the paper.
Silver gelatin prints are a favourite amongst photographers who love shooting in black and white. While black and white photos carry a distinct charm of their own, when printed on silver gelatin print paper, the entire appearance of these photographs is instantly enhanced as they have a smooth, even image surface. The hues and tones of the black are darker, the whites crisper and more natural and there is more subtlety in the greys. To further enhance this, some photographers add additional chemicals to the gelatin silver prints. It This not only alters the tone of the image, but also makes the print more permanent and long-lasting.
The C-Type colour prints have at least three emulsion layers of light-sensitive silver salts. Each layer is sensitised to a different primary colour - either red, blue or green - and so records different information about the colour make-up of the image. During printing, chemicals are added which form dyes of the appropriate colour in the emulsion layers. It This is the most common type of colour photograph. The silver gelatin and C-Type methods are still viewed by established photographers as superior to any other form of printing, including digital. The fragile nature of the process and high quality of the fine art prints make silver gelatin and C-Type prints more expensive than their contemporary counterparts.
Featured Art: 'Brazil', a signed, limited edition silver gelatin print depicting world-famous footballer Pelé, photographed by José Dias Herrera, £1,950.
Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.
Join our mailing list for all the latest art news, lifestyle features & artist updates. We'll help kick-start your collection with £25 off your first purchase.*
*Terms and conditions apply.
© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2023. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.
Washington Green Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 726395. Credit provided subject to age and status. Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies V12 Finance