Roberto Matta's The First Goal of the Chilean People was covered by 16 coats of paint. It celebrates the 1971 victory of Socialist President Salvador Allende. ((Santiago Llanquin/Associated Press))

A mural by Chile's famed surrealist painter Roberto Matta has finally been unveiled after it was covered by 16 coats of paint during the country's military dictatorship in the 1970s.

The piece was put back on display Sunday at the La Granja city hall outside Santiago after three years of restoration work.

The 4-by-24-metre mural, titled The First Goal of the Chilean People, celebrates the 1971 victory of Socialist president Salvador Allende.  It features amorphous human-like figures, in the nude, frolicking in different contortions.

Allende's government was overthrown by a military coup in 1973 led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled until 1990.

During Pinochet's rule, thousands of people were jailed, tortured or simply disappeared.

Matta, who died in 2002 at age 92, first studied architecture before abandoning those studies and leaving for Paris in 1933.

While in the City of Light, he met other artists including René Magritte, Salvador Dalí and André Breton and was able to foster his artistic impulses.

His oil paintings became more famous during his time living in the U.S. between 1938 and 1948.

Matta's style can be compared to some Dali paintings  with their dreamlike landscapes and fantastical objects floating on the canvas.

He was also the father of American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who died in 1978 of pancreatic cancer. Matta-Clark was well-known for creating site-specific works.

With files from the Associated Press