Pedro Lira

Pedro Lira ( born May 17, 1845 in Santiago de Chile, † April 20, 1912 ) was a Chilean painter. He belongs to the generation of great masters such as Chilean Juan Francisco González, Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma and Alberto Valenzuela Llanos, whose main work was written at the turn of the 20th century.


Originally from a wealthy family Lira visited the Instituto Nacional in Santiago and took from the age of sixteen courses, headed by Alejandro Academia de Pintura Cicarelli. Until 1867 he studied law at the Universidad de Chile. Since 1865, he took lessons from the landscape painter Antonio Smith.

Lira is best known for his participation in the National Exhibition of 1872. The following year he traveled with his wife Elena Orrego Luco and his brother, the painter Alberto Orrego Luco, to Paris. He remained there until 1884, completed his training in academic painting and created mythological and historical paintings.

In 1884 he returned to Chile. There he founded with the sculptor José Miguel Blanco, the Unión Artística and hosted the first Chilean art exhibition. With the support of the government, he opened the Museo de Pintura in the Quinta Normal de Agricultura and was a member of the Comisión de Bellas Artes. He became known as an art critic, art historical works translated and published in 1902 a Diccionario de Biográfico Pintores. From 1892 until his death he was director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes


Lira created more than 500 paintings, embossed with Smith early landscape paintings on academic history painting to a socially critical realist late work. With La Fundación de Santiago he won a silver medal at the Paris World Exposition 1889.


  • Diccionario de biográfico pintores. . Esmeralda Santiago de Chile 1902 ( digitized version of the Memoria Chilena, PDF, 85.39 MB)