Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858)
Santiago de Chile from the hill of Santa Lucia looking to the west
signed and dated (all inverted) 'M Rugendas Santiago de Chile 1841' (lower left)
oil on canvas
22 5/8 x 36in. (58 x 91.4cm.)
Rugendas's view of the city of Santiago, taken from a terrace on the west side of the hill of Santa Lucia, shows the city's main square with the Mapocho river on the right and the coastal mountains beyond.
Rugendas worked on this subject, the view of Santiago taken from the hill of Santa Lucia, from the very beginning of his stay in Chile. He arrived in Santiago in 1834, remaining there until 1842. He made several drawings, some of them composing half a panorama of the city with the surrounding landscape (Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, inv. nos. 15990-15994, for which see P. Diener, Rugendas, Augsburg, 1997, cat. nos. CH-D-98 - CH-D-102).
Based on these studies, he painted some of his most famous pictures of Santiago including 'View of Santiago from the hill Santa Lucia looking to the east, with the Andean Mountains in the background', 1843, private collection, Santiago (Diener, CH-0-27), and 'View of Santiago from the hill Santa Lucia looking to the west, with the Coastal Mountains in the background', [early 1840s], corporate collection, London (Diener, CH-0-26).
The present picture probably precedes the latter, including more figures on the terrace in the foreground, the landscape appearing more elaborated with the effects of light more highly worked, and the sky more differentiated. The date (1841) and inclusion of some details in the city which do not appear in the drawing further suggest that Rugendas painted this canvas directly from nature.
Maria de Fátima, co-author with Pablo Diener of the recently published Rugendas e o Brasil has remarked on the affinities between the present composition and Rugendas's drawing, made fifteen years earlier, for the lithograph 'Vue devant L'Eglise de San Bento à Rio de Janeiro' (Voyage Pittoresque dans le Brésil, Paris, 1835, 3, pl. 12).
We are grateful to Dr. Pablo Diener for the above information. The present picture will be included in a forthcoming addendum to his Rugendas catalogue raisonné.