Perhaps it is through art that we can best witness Chile’s transition from colony to republic.
Prior to the early 19th Century, Chilean paintings featured strictly religious imagery, most commonly displayed in churches and convents. This tradition began to change upon the arrival of Peruvian José Gil de Castro in 1814. Castro is attributed to having influenced Chilean art by painting the first portraits of people rather than saints.
This transition, demonstrated by works from Castro and other pioneering painters, are on display from now until October 14th at the Centro Cultural Casa de Lo Matta in Santiago. Spanning nearly two centuries, the art exhibition 198 años de pintura en Chile (“198 years of painting in Chile”) features works that depict everyday life by painters considered to be heroes of independence.
Another featured painter is Chilean landscape artist, Alfredo Valenzuela Llanos. Llanos’ works capture the majesty of Chile’s great outdoors, featuring snowy mountains and valleys. His relaxed style and use of passive colors are a reflection of the impressionist movement, which was emerging from a group of Paris-based artists during his time. Llano received broad international recognition and was among Chile’s artists to win awards abroad.
Juan Franciso González, considered to be one of Chile’s first modern painters also has works on display. Recognized as one of Chile’s four masters of painting, González demonstrated a mastery of romanticism, a style that rejected the ascendancy of rational thinking and industrial practices. His works are considered to have inspired subsequent generations of artists.
Aside from these, other featured painters include; Puelma Valenzuela, Exequiel Plaza, Arthur Gordon, Pedro Luna, Ximena Cristi, José Balmes and Gracia Barrios.
The exhibition is a collection of 65 works from the Universidad de Concepción that portray important themes and topics from their respective eras. The works are accompanied with press releases and a timeline to provide social and political context. In addition to the art, visitors can take advantage of interactive games as well.
When: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from now until October 14th.
Where: Casas de Lo Matta – located at Av. Kennedy 9350 in Vitacura, Santiago.
Casas de Lo Matta, named after Roberto Matta, is a venue that hosts special cultural events and exhibitions. These range from film, talks, theatre, opera and other expressions of art.