Chile has produced many famous poets. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) is often referred to by Chileans as la divina Gabriela (the divine Gabriela). In 1945, she became the first Latin American to receive a Nobel Prize for literature. Her poems depict everyday life in rural Chile and a love for the poor. Pablo Neruda (1904-73) received a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He wrote about love, poverty and hunger, the Chilean landscape, and the plight of the poor. Leading contemporary poets include Juan Luis Martínez, Raúl Zurita and José Luis Rosasco.
Two famous Chilean writers are Isabel Allende and José Donoso. Allende's first novel,The House of Spirits, was a bestseller in Europe and in North America. The book is about an aristocratic Chilean family in a politically volatile society. José Donoso is considered to be among the finest writers in Latin America and his books, such as A House in the Country, have been translated into many languages.
Prominent Chilean playwrights include Jorge Díaz, Marco Antonio de la Parra and Raúl Zúrita. Miguel Littín is Chile's leading film director, known worldwide for such films as Letters from Marusia (1976), Recourse to Method (1978), and Alsino and the Condor, nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1982. Ricardo Larraín won international acclaim for his movie La frontera (1991). Antonio Skarmeta directed Il Postino (1995), a movie about the exile of Pablo Neruda in Italy.
Prominent Chilean artists include realist painter Roberto Matta, sculptor Marta Colvin, pianists Claudio Arrau and Roberto Bravo and composers Enrique Soto and Juan Orrego.
Chile has a rich folk tradition. Mapuche art includes handwoven ponchos and blankets, intricately crafted silver jewellery and delicate pottery.
Chile's best-known folk singer was Violeta Parra. She began the "new music" movement, which incorporates the different kinds of folk music in Chile. Angel and Isabel Parra, Victor Jara, and groups such as Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani have popularized "new music." The songs are played with traditional instruments including the quena, a small bamboo flute, and the charango, a stringed instrument made from an armadillo shell.