Cosme San Martín

Cosme San Martín; caricature by Luis Fernando Rojas. (Detail from the cover of La Revista Cómica, 1896)

Cosme San Martín Lagunas (27 September 1849/1850, Valparaíso 1 April 1906, Santiago) was a Chilean painter and the first Director of the "Academia de Pintura" who was born in Chile.[1]


His father was a musician. In 1864, he went to Santiago to study at the Academia. His teachers included the school's Director, Alejandro Ciccarelli and Juan Mochi, who had a great influence on his style. Four years later, no older than nineteen, San Martín was named a Professor of drawing at the Academy.[1]

His work "Jesús y María Magdalena" won a competition that enabled him to obtain a grant for study in Europe.[2] In 1875, he went to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts[1] and worked in the studios of the Spanish painter, Juan Antonio González (1842-1914), along with his fellow Chilean, Pedro Lira.[2] He participated in several exhibitions as well as the Salon. In 1880, his painting "El reposo de la modelo" (The Model's Rest) was highly praised and was included in the Salon's promotional material.[2]

He remained in Europe for ten years. Upon his return to Chile, he was named Deputy Director of the Academy under his former teacher, Juan Mochi.[1] Two years later, when Mochi resigned, San Martín succeeded him as Director. He was apparently very dedicated and well-liked and served until 1900, when he resigned and was replaced by the sculptor Virginio Arias.

He was one of the last representatives of Academicism in his country and worked in a wide variety of genres, including portraits, history painting, interior portraits, allegories, marine art and still-lifes. He was also a musician, and often played viola with the orchestra at the Municipal Theater of Santiago, where his father had been employed.[1]

Selected paintings


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Biographical notes @ Artistas Plásticos Chilenos.
  2. 1 2 3 Brief biography @ MCN Biografías.
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