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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


CABELLO C., Felipe. Julio Escámez Contreras and his masterful mural History of the Medicine and Pharmacy in Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2019, vol.147, n.9, pp.1190-1198. ISSN 0034-9887.

Julio Escámez Contreras was a highly creative, skilled and versatile Chilean painter who painted in Chile from 1940 to 1974 when he went into exile to Costa Rica and died there in 2015. In 1953-54, Escámez painted a large mural in a private pharmacy in the city of Concepcion, Chile, The History of Medicine and Pharmacy in Chile. This mural describes the origins and development of medicine and pharmacy in Chile, placing that origin in the medicinal activities of the mapuche indigenous population. The mural consists of three sections, each painted on the upper segment of three adjacent walls in the pharmacy, with each section focused on one period in the evolution of medicine and pharmacy in Chile. The first section is devoted to indigenous medical practices including its pharmacopeia and religious practices, the second describes medical approaches during colonial times, still with strong indigenous components but also with indigenous and Catholic hybrid religious elements, while the third depicts modern medicine, including chemistry, anatomical, physical and pharmacological activities complemented with public health components such as nursing, vaccination and health education. Read from left to right, the mural provides a highly lively, accurate and valid depiction of the evolution of medicine and pharmacy in Chile. Escámez' artistry and skill in the use of perspective, color, landscape, architecture and Chilean subjects, including real life individuals, produces a typical Chilean mural. However, his originality and consummate use of a non-verbal visual language delivers a more universal message, one that helps to explain the repeated efforts, of the government responsible for his exile, to destroy some of the works produced by him.

Palabras clave : Chile; History; Medicine; Pharmacy; Population Groups.

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