Apparently, the celebrations of September 18 in Santiago have been held in the same place practically since the first one held in 1811. We refer to the place that was then known as “La Pampilla,” south of La Cañada. We do not know its exact size with precision, although we believe it would have coincided with what is now O’Higgins Park, called Cousiño Park before 1970. However, in 1845, when Ernest Charton performed this work [in watercolor and pastel], the place was known simply as “Campo de Marte” (Mars Field) where military maneuvers and exercises were performed along with civil activities of a recreational nature. The conjunction of these two worlds is exactly what is vividly represented in Charton’s scene. The point of view is precise, and it is well referenced with respect to geography: the view was taken (or imagined) from an elevated place, equivalent to the top of the current tribune that exists today in the ellipse. From there you can see the San Cristóbal hill, and in front, although comparatively much smaller, the Santa Lucía Hill. To the left, we see the Alameda promenade of trees and to the right, the fields in the eastern part of the capital. The white building, with a U-shaped plan, is the Artillery Barracks, which at that time was the most important military building in the country.
Image and text extracted from the author’s book Germán Hidalgo H., Vistas Panorámicas de Santiago 1790·1910: Su Desarrollo Urbano bajo la Mirada de Dibujantes, Pintores y Fotógrafos (Panoramic Views of Santiago 1790 · 1910: Its Urban Development from the Perspective of Illustrators, Painters and Photographers) Santiago: Origo Ediciones / Ediciones UC, 2010, p.49, 113-114, on sale in local bookstores. Reference price: $25.000.