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Museo Botero is an art museum located in the La Candelaria district of Bogota, Colombia. The museum was founded in 2003, following a major bequest from Ferdinand Botero in 2000. Today, it houses one of Latin America’s foremost art collections and receives around half a million visitors each year.
History of Museo Botero
Ferdinand Botero is one of Colombia’s most famous living artists: his style, Boterismo, is unique, as he paints what he has termed ‘large people’ – people with exaggerated proportions, normally as a means of critiquing or satirising prominent figures. He rose to international fame in the 1990s, and his work has been displayed globally: he received the International Sculpture Centre’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2012. Whilst Botero’s work is not hugely well known in Europe, you might recognise his 1964 painting of Pope Leo X, which has been turned into a popular meme.
Botero also painted a series based on drug violence and cartels in Colombia in the 1980s/90s, and caused further controversy with his Abu Ghraib series, which looked at abuse in Iraqi prisons by Americans.
Museo Botero today
In 2000, he bequeathed 123 pieces of his own work and 85 other items from his collections to the people of Colombia, and worked with the Banco de la Republica to create a setting in which they could be appreciated and enjoyed to their utmost. One of the stipulations of the bequest was for the museum to be free to all, so that people from all walks of life and backgrounds could enjoy, study and learn from Botero’s work.
The museum remains a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon: the east wing contains Botero’s collection, whilst the other wings house his own work. The museum is open every day except Tuesdays, and remains free to all.
Getting to Museo Botero
The Museum is helpfully located in La Candelaria, where many of Bogota’s main cultural attractions can be found. The museum is free to access, and housed in an old colonial administration building.
In 1881, a group, including Manuel Uribe Ángel, Antonio José Restrepo and Martin Gómez, established the Zea Museum in honor of Francisco Antonio Zea at the Library of the Sovereign State of Antioquia. The first collection contained books and historical and artistic artifacts of its founders. Uribe Angel donated his collection with the condition that he be the first director of the Museum. There was also a library as part of the museum.
The history of the department was represented in documents, weapons, flags and other items from the time of Colombian independence to the Thousand Days' War. The collection also contained pre-Columbian pieces, rocks, minerals, and coins.
The library had thousands of volumes related to history, art and science, and a compilation of the first newspapers in the country. In 1886, the Constitution was reformed and the status of Antioquia as a sovereign state changed to the status it has today as a Department. As a result, entities such as the museum had to depend on the central government and with the Governors. The museum coninuted depending on the Administration Department.
The museum closed to become the palace of Rafael Uribe Uribe, the Governor of Antioquia. Part of the collection was put in storage and the other part was sent to the University of Antioquio and the Historical Academy of Antioquia.
In 1946, Teresa Santamaria de Gonzalez and Joaquin Jaramillo Sierra, of the Honor Society for the Betterment of Medellín were concerned that the city did not have a representative museum. They proposed reopening the museum and looked for someone who could protect the museum from government control or closure. So they established the museum as a private non-profit entity.
In 1953, the museum received legal status, and it finally opened in 1955 in the Casa de la Moneda (Coin House), itself a former aguardiente factory. (The place is now Ala Experimental, next to the Church of the Veracruz). The location was facilitated by the national bank, and the city of Medellín gave the building for the exclusive use of the museum.
In 1977, the museum changed its name to the Francisco Antonio Zea Museum of Art of Medellín. The name was changed to avoid confusion: tourists did not understand the significance of Zea and the locals confused the museum with the Cera (wax) museum.
In 1978, the artist Fernando Botero made his first donation of his works to the museum. Then it was proposed that the name be changed to the Museum of Antioquia. The change was accepted by the Governor of Antioquia.
In 1997, a renovation process started. At this time, the museum was in economic distress and the number of annual visitors was low.
Museo 360 Edit
Since 2016, with the arrival of María del Rosario Escobar as the Director, the Museum of Antioquia has undertaken the project Museo 360 seeking to outline the Museum as a space for encounters and reflections that “recognize the reality of the city, instead of hiding it.”  Museo 360 aims to ”settle historical debts of exclusion, discrimination“ and to overcome “the inability to understand the other, amid the fear of being different.”  According to Escobar, the Museum’s mission is to “review history and its stories, and create new stories that are inclusive and allow us to understand that the problems of the city and its protagonists exist.”  This institutional approach seeks to provoke reflections on the historical paths that have led to the present of a society, and the role that cultural institutions play in these processes.
Accordingly, the curatorial strategy of the permanent galleries invites visitors to inquire about the role of art history and museums in the reinforcement of exclusionary social constructs. Another example of the Museum’s new approach is the artistic residency project of artist Nadia Granados who, with curator Carolina Chacón and a group of sex workers based in downtown Medellín, developed the award-winning cabaret/performance Nadie sabe quién soy yo (No one knows who I am) in 2017. From then on, the performers funded the group Las Guerreras del Centro (Downtown Warriors), a collective to highlight the lives and stories of sex workers through artistic performances, knitting circles and other community actions. 
Nadie sabe quién soy yo was the beginning of a series of curatorial and educational collaborations between Las Guerreras del Centro and the Museum of Antioquia. Such collaborative projects constitute destigmatizing and empowering critical museology practices that generate new spaces for exchanges and social dialogues within and outside of the museum. These spaces emerge from the museum, forge links beyond museum walls, and drastically transform the museum’s relationship with its social environment. 
Desde finales de los años 60, el artista colombiano Fernando Botero había sido un destacado coleccionista de arte. Inicialmente de piezas precolombinas, posteriormente de arte colonial y más recientemente de dibujo, pintura y escultura moderna universal. Hasta 1999, todas sus colecciones se hallaban dispersas en los apartamentos del artista en Nueva York, París, Montecarlo y Pietrasanta, además de un depósito en un banco suizo, en Bogotá.
Desde mediados de los noventa, Botero había planteado al Museo de Antioquia en Medellín, la posibilidad de donar su colección entera de arte. Sin embargo, la lentitud en la toma de decisiones por parte de las autoridades antioqueñas le llevó a aceptar la propuesta del entonces alcalde de Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa, de donar su colección a Bogotá. Aunque Peñalosa propuso construir un nuevo museo para albergarla, el artista prefirió entregar su colección particular de arte, valorada en más de 200 millones de dólares, al Banco de la República de Colombia, en Bogotá, institución con una larga trayectoria de actividades culturales relacionadas con la numismática, el arte y las bibliotecas, y en cuya Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango había expuesto años atrás la serie de La Corrida.
En el año 2000, la colección llegó a Colombia después de una exposición en la Fundación Santander Central Hispano de Madrid (España). Tras este obsequio a Bogotá, por petición de las autoridades antioqueñas, el artista aportaría un conjunto significativo de piezas de su autoría al Museo de Antioquia (luego de su cambio de sede), además de un conjunto de esculturas para el Parque Botero (al frente de dicho Museo). Aunque ya el grueso de la colección de artistas internacionales había sido cedido por Botero a Bogotá, este decidió reunir un nuevo conjunto de cerca de 21 piezas (Matta, Lam, Stella, Rodin, etc.), para ser donado al Museo de Antioquia (en dos oportunidades).
La Curaduría del Museo Botero de Bogotá fue realizada por el mismo Fernando Botero con el apoyo de María Elvira Escallón y José Ignacio Roca. Una de las cláusulas de la donación, fue que ninguna obra donada podía ser prestada o cambiada de ubicación luego de colgada. Por ello, el montaje de las obras se mantiene tal cual como Botero lo decidió. La colección de 87 piezas de arte internacional donadas por el artista, se divide en varios núcleos:
- Una sala dedicada a artistas europeos de fines del siglo XIX e inicios del siglo XX, con búsquedas relacionadas con el impresionismo. Este espacio incluye la obra más antigua de la colección "Gitana con Pandereta" de Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, artista pre-impresionista. Del impresionismo, hay dos óleos de Pierre Auguste Renoir, una vista de Ámsterdam de Claude Monet, óleos de Camille Pissarro y Gustave Caillebotte y una escultura de Edgar Degas. Obras posimpresionistas solo hay una: "Bebedora de ajenjo en Grenelle" de Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. El mismo Botero reconoció la dificultad de comprar obras de artistas posimpresionistas (Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne) debido a su alto costo en el mercado del arte.
En esta misma sala se encuentran obras muy posteriores no relacionadas directamente con el impresionismo, como un desnudo de Pierre Bonnard adquirido por Botero luego de una dura negociación a Ernst Beyeler, célebre coleccionista de arte o un retrato pintado por Edouard Vuillard que Botero tenía en su habitación de Nueva York.
- La siguiente sala la abre una escultura de Salvador Dalí fechada en 1933, de la cual existe una versión en el Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) de Nueva York. Aunque Botero reconoce que no le gusta Dalí, admite que compró esta pieza porque consideraba que ayudaba a "completar" la colección.
El resto de la sala está conformada por óleos de gran formato de artistas de corrientes muy diversas, que oscilan entre el surrealismo, el expresionismo, la nueva objetividad alemana y algunas obras cercanas al cubismo. Otras vanguardias como el Futurismo italiano, el Dadá, el cubismo temprano (sintético y analítico) y el expresionismo alemán más temprano, no están representados. Botero ha reconocido que no le interesa la corriente artística derivada de Duchamp y menos el arte abstracto (las derivaciones de Kandinsky o Klee), que ha calificado en reiteradas ocasiones como meramente "decorativo".
De este espacio, son destacables dos óleos tardíos de Picasso (uno de ellos, inédito), un óleo de Joan Miró (1953), un óleo de Giacometti y, especialmente, una "Maternidad" (1936) de Max Beckmann, especialmente importante para la historia del arte. La pieza, que perteneció a Quapi Beckmann, la viuda del artista, estuvo colgada en el hall de acceso del apartamento de Botero en Nueva York.
- La siguiente sala, está dedicada a dibujos del siglo XX aunque incluye un óleo de pequeño formato de Jacques Lipchitz (fechado en 1917). Son especialmente destacables un pastel de Edgar Degas, una acuarela pintada en 1922 por el alemán George Grosz, dos dibujos de Léger, uno de Henri Matisse, otro de Gustav Klimt y dos dibujos de Balthus, uno de ellos, un estudio preparatorio para la célebre "Lección de Guitarra" (1934), comprado por Botero a la viuda del poeta Paul Éluard. Esta última obra, ha sido prestada en varias ocasiones al Metropolitan Museum de Nueva York y a la Tate Gallery de Londres.
- La colección internacional continua en el segundo piso con un espacio dedicado a las vanguardias americanas de mediados del siglo XX: comparten el espacio óleos de artistas latinoamericanos como Wifredo Lam o Roberto Matta con obras de los norteamericanos Robert Rauschenberg o Willem de Kooning. La única obra enteramente abstracta del espacio es un óleo de Robert Motherwell. Salvo un óleo de Kitaj, la Colección Botero ignora completamente al arte pop (Warhol, Liechtenstein, etc.) y al abstraccionismo más contundente (Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, etc.). Este sesgo, responde a las reiteradas críticas que Botero hace a la abstracción, del cual su propia obra se aleja por completo.
- La siguiente sala posee varias obras importantes de la segunda mitad del siglo XX: un estudio para un niño de Francis Bacon, un Jean Dubuffet de 1963 (según algunos, la primera obra adquirida por Botero para su colección), un Joaquín Torres García y un Antoni Tàpies (adquirido por Botero luego de haber hablado mal de Tàpies en una entrevista), entre muchas otras piezas.
- El siguiente espacio, dedicado a la escultura, incluye obras de Aristide Maillol, Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, Giacomo Manzú, Henry Moore y Max Ernst, entre muchos otros artistas.
Obras impresionistas en el Museo Botero Editar
Claude Monet. El Geldersekade de Amsterdam en invierno, 1871-1874.
Your Guide to Medellín’s Museo de Antioquia
Found in the downtown area of El Centro, Museo de Antioquia is a grand building that overlooks the busy Plaza Botero. Home to a range of exhibitions, the museum offers a unique insight into the department of Antioquia and Medellín’s role in its story. Whether you’re an art-lover, a history buff, or simply want to soak up local life, a trip to Museo de Antioquia is a great activity. Here’s how to arrive, what to see in the museum, and the backstory of Fernando Botero.
Address: Calle 52 #43
Opening hours: 10 am – 5.30 pm Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 4.30 pm Sundays and public holidays
Entry cost: $18,000 COP for foreigners, $12,000 COP for Colombians (50% discount for people over 60 and students, 30% discount for groups of more than 5)
Accessible for wheelchair users: Yes
How to get there
Take Linea A (Line A) to Parque Berrío (there are now announcements in English on the metro that this stop is for Museo de Antioquia). In the station, follow signs for the exit in the direction of Plaza Botero. Once outside, continue straight for one block, following the direction of the train line above. You’ll soon see a large black and white chequered building – this is the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture, and the beginning of Plaza Botero. Turn left once you pass the palace and across the plaza is Museo de Antioquia.
All taxis drivers will know where Museo de Antioquia is. Simply say ‘Museo de Antioquia (like ‘moo-seh-o de An-ti-oh-key-a’) por favor’ and they’ll take you there. Coming from Poblado – and depending on traffic – it should cost around $10,000 COP.
History of Museo de Antioquia
The museum was first founded in 1881 at a different location in Medellín. By 1997, the museum was in significant debt and had very few visitors. After trying to purchase pieces by Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero in installments, Botero promised that he would make a donation if the museum could improve. These donations include the now sculpture, painting, and drawing rooms.
With the support of the new director of the museum, the governor of Antioquia, and the mayor of Medellín, the board of the museum began looking for another location. It was Mayor Juan Gómez Martínez who suggested using the old Municipal Palace in El Centro for the project. The idea coincided well with plans to renovate the deteriorated part of the city, and soon after, Plaza Botero began being constructed too.
At its current location, Museo de Antioquia opened October 15 th, 2000. All 23 statues in Plaza Botero were inaugurated a year later. Since Botero first donated to Museo de Antioquia, he has since invested much of his artwork in Medellín for free. He is widely respected and praised by Paisas for his dedication to the city.
Who is Fernando Botero?
Even if you’re not familiar with Fernando Botero, you’ve most likely seen his work all around the world – including Park Avenue in New York City and the Champs-Élysées in Paris. In Colombia, Botero is certainly the most prolific painter and sculptor.
He was born in Medellín in 1932. He initially went to matador school to learn to become a bullfighter, but after changing his mind, he went on to pursue the arts, living overseas and studying the works of famous artists in Madrid, Paris, and Florence.
Pieces by Botero are best known for featuring plump, rotund people, animals, and objects. The artist did not consider his subjects “fat” but rather considered it an exploration of proportion, volume, and form. His works are identifiable for their distinctive and playful style, yet still, explore important themes.
Botero’s subjects range from still life to local characters and cityscapes here in Antioquia, to bullfighting and the culture surrounding it, and the increasing violence in the era of Pablo Escobar – all of which are done in his signature style of ‘Boterismo’. Currently, there are more than 100 works by Fernando Botero in Museo de Antioquia.
What to see in the museum
Before heading into the museum, take a moment to wander among the bronze Botero statues scattered around Plaza Botero. The sculptures combined with the looming Gothic design of Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture make a perfect photo opportunity and are one of the best free things to do in Medellín.
La Nota Positiva
Once inside, the primary exhibit of the museum is the comprehensive collection of Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures, located on the third floor. The museum staff recommends starting here with Botero’s art and working your way down. If you’d like a member of staff to give you more information, tours take place daily at 2 pm for free in Spanish only. Alternatively, English-speaking tours are available but have to be booked in advance and cost a small fee based on the group size.
There are a number of other exhibits, including a hall featuring the works of international artists (mostly modern art), an exhibit featuring religious and colonial art from the period of conquest in South America, and much more. The exhibitions change on a rotational basis, so we suggest checking the website beforehand to see what’s on display for your visit.
For a little bit of nature while in Museo de Antioquia, there’s a picturesque courtyard to sit and enjoy the sunshine. Additionally, the museum gift shop sells quaint, locally-made items and replicas of artwork from the museum – fantastic as gifts for friends and family back home. Elsewhere, a café and restaurant are located on the first floor, for when you need to refuel having wandered the museum for hours.
Visting México in the mid-1950s, Fernando Botero painted Still Life with Mandolin (1956) where his emerging style was apparent. In 1958, he was awarded the National Salon first prize for Bridal Chamber: Homage to Mantegna. In 1960, Botero relocated to New York City. The Museum of Modern Art of New York added Botero&rsquos Mona Lisa, Age Twelve to its collection in 1961.
His paintings in this period reflected life in Colombia with subjects such as family life, politicians and leaders, animals, military, religious icons and prostitutes mostly portrayed as rotund and colourful. Paintings from this period include Presidential Family (1967). Botero went to Paris again in the early 1973 and began to do sculpting without abandoning his painting. Sculptures include Roman Soldier (1985), Maternity (1989) and The Left Hand (1982).
Das Museo Botero, deutsch Museum Botero , trägt den Namen des berühmtesten kolumbianischen Künstlers, Malers und Bildhauers Fernando Botero. Das Museum befindet sich in La Candelaria,  der Altstadt von Bogotá, und zeigt u. a. einen Ausschnitt seines kreativen Schaffens. Es ist nur wenige Schritte von der Plaza de Bolívar im Stadtzentrum entfernt und gehört zum kulturellen Viertel La Manzana Cultural. 
Das Museum hält eine Sammlung an Kunstwerken Boteros, darunter Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen. Daneben sind auch Malereien berühmter internationaler Künstler wie Salvador Dalí und Pablo Picasso zu sehen. Im Jahr 2000 hatte Botero 208 Gemälde und Skulpturen an die Kulturstiftung der Nationalbank übergeben und damit den Grundstein für die Eröffnung des Museums gelegt. Unter den überlassenen Werken waren neben seinen eigenen Arbeiten auch Originalkunstwerke weltbekannter Künstler aus seiner Privatsammlung.
Im westlichen Flügel des Museums über zwei Stockwerke finden sich 123 Werke von Fernando Botero. Viele Arbeiten sind Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts entstanden und tragen seine charakteristische Handschrift. Die Darstellung beleibter Figuren, die sich mollig auseinandersetzen: Hände, Orangen, Frauen, Männer, Kinder, Vögel und auch Führer der FARC.  Zu den bekannten Gemälden mit überzeichneten Formen zählen Pareja Bailando („Tanzendes Paar“) und Monalisa. Letzteres ist eine Karikatur der Mona Lisa von Leonardo da Vinci.
Besonders sehenswert ist auch Boteros Sammlung von Bleistiftzeichnungen, z. B. die Porträts der französischen Künstler Paul Cézanne und Gustave Courbet. Im Ausstellungsbereich für Skulpturen findet man weitere voluminöse Plastiken von ihm wie Hombre a Caballo („Mann zu Pferd“) und El Sueño („Der Traum“).
Im Ostflügel des Museums sind die 85 Kunstwerke internationaler Künstler ausgestellt. Darunter Arbeiten weltberühmter Maler wie Francis Bacon, Joan Miró, Claude Monet und Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Die Ausstellung ist chronologisch aufgebaut und umfasst den Zeitraum vom französischen Impressionismus aus dem 19. Jahrhundert bis zur zeitgenössischen Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. Das Museum ist täglich, außer dienstags, geöffnet von 9 bis 19 Uhr, sonntags von 10 bis 17 Uhr. Der Eintritt ist frei. 
At 84, Artist Fernando Botero Is Keeping Things Supersized
On the occasion of his new, fittingly voluminous book by Assouline, the Colombian icon reflects on his hugely influential six-and-a-half-decade career.
“Many people know me as the painter of the ‘fat ladies,’ and it doesn’t disturb me,” said the Colombian artist Fernando Botero recently from his home in Monaco, one of six studios around the world he still maintains at age 84.
In fact, the artist’s love of generous proportions has largely never wavered over the last six and a half decades, making for a style that turned heads when he first took up painting in the 50’s, and has since made him Latin America’s most collectible living artist. His voluminous figures of everything from pieces of fruit to the Mona Lisa routinely sell for millions, though they can also be appreciated in their full glory in the collections of over 50 museums — and in Botero’s new, fittingly supersized eponymous tome with Assouline, out later this week. “I’ve had many books published about my work, but this is the most important one,” Botero said of the title, which clocks in at nearly a foot and a half tall (and comes with a sizable $845 price tag to boot).
A jetsetter in his heyday, Botero is still bouncing between his homes in Monaco, Colombia, Greece, and New York, working on his paintings daily with the same pulley system he’s used for decades. He paused to reflect on it all, here.
Looking back on your career, you’ve said that you had a breakthrough in 1956. Are there any other moments in particular that have formed you as an artist? In ’56, I did a painting of a mandolin with a generous outline and some tiny interior details. That contrast between the big and the small was very effective and marked more or less my expression from that moment on. But you never finish learning and making progress in your style — maturity comes when you have total coherence in what you want to say.
You’re best known for your paintings and drawings, but you’ve also produced over 200 sculptures. How have those works been received as public art? I did 20 exhibitions of my monumental sculptures all around the world, with the first in Monaco in 1991. In Paris, in ‘92, I showed 32 monumental pieces on the Champs Elysées. The mustaches of a bronze cat were stolen, and this small event was published in the press everywhere!
Fernando Botero: Pinturas. Dibujos. EsculturasExhibition view. Fernando Botero: Pinturas. Dibujos. Esculturas, 1987
The Colombian Fernando Botero (Medellín, Colombia, 1932) possesses one of the most recognisable styles in Latin American artistic tradition, with accentuated corporeality that allows him to work with proportions that are not the norm. Botero defines his work as figurative art, inflated forms and rotund figures as “divergent expressive forms”.
In his work, Botero encapsulates influences from the great Mexican muralists, particularly José Clemente Orozco and a fascination with Trecento and Quattrocento Italian painting can also be discerned. Every influence can be appreciated in his variation of works by Jan Van Eyck, Alberto Durero, Peter Paul Rubens, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Pierre Bonnard and Paul Cézanne. Equally, the artist also connects with Spanish artistic tradition Botero studies at the San Fernando Fine Arts Academy in Madrid in 1951, and visits the Museo del Prado, where he copies works by Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Goya.
His success soon arrives to European shores, and in the Sixties his individual exhibitions are held in cities such as Paris, Baden-Baden, Hannover and London. Moreover, his rejection of contemporary painting distances him from avant-garde movements and means he is absent from the American art scene, where his figurative painting is seen as anachronistic.
Botero's impeccable execution can be appreciated in the fifty large oil paintings on display in this exhibition, the most extensive collection in Spain to date. The selection of works originate from museums and private collections from Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition also displays fifty-four drawings and watercolours and ten bronze sculptures, all realised after 1962 and brought together especially for the occasion.
Botero's use of a systematic method enables him to paint with great speed. He is unconcerned with the spontaneity of the forms and the independent brush strokes his aim is the homogenous working of the surface of colour, with his penchant for preparing the background in reddish tones noticeable. He then draws on top of the thiss base with white chalk, and marks the luminous areas he wants to stress with white acrylic.
The command of dry painting can be appreciated in the colour, meticulously diffused in his pastel works. In his drawings there is a clear personal style that, from the beginning of the Sixties, causes him to react against what is merely sketched and increasingly renounce the interplay with what is unfinished. He often reverts to sanguine, which enables him to turn the dense red into a source of light, while in the charcoal drawings the black gradually dims the light at the back of the sheet or it strengthens it in more determined and open ways.
The broad and salient themes characterise his work: portraits, self-portraits, nude figures, still-lifes, landscapes, brothel scenes, bullfights, saints, soldiers, cardinals. the list goes on all of which are treated with optimism and freshness.
In Botero's sculptures the concerns and themes of his painting recur, although possibly more experimentally. The rounded and sensual contours remain as the human figure is the focal point. After his first attempts, between 1963-1966, he doesn't work with sculpture until 1973. The years 1976-1977 are considered his most productive as he achieves a total command of the different sculptural techniques and during this period he fully devotes his time to three-dimensional art. An influence from colonial masters from the 18 th century, such as Caspicara from Ecuador and Aleijadinho from Brazil, can be discerned along with references to his favourite contemporary artists, for instance Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Elie Nadelman and Gaston Lachaise.
6 Fernando Botero Paintings That Highlight His Love of Full-Figured Forms
One of the most famous living artists from Latin America, Colombian artist Fernando Botero is known for his paintings and sculptures of exaggerated, voluptuous forms. The creative has produced thousands of artworks in his signature style&mdashknown as &ldquoBoterismo”&mdashand he continues to be as prolific as ever. &ldquoI'm a tireless worker I don't consider painting a work, it is not an obligation, I do it for pleasure,&rdquo he says. &ldquoI haven't found anything that amuses me more than painting.&rdquo
Throughout his career, Botero has stressed that he does not &ldquopaint fat people.&rdquo Instead, he claims his work explores the &ldquosensuality of form.&rdquo His paintings cover a variety of subjects, from his own interpretations of Old Master paintings to satirical portraits of political and religious figures. Botero&rsquos trademark, full-figured subjects have often been met with criticism, but they continue to fascinate many art lovers around the world. Read on to discover six famous Fernando Botero paintings that capture his signature style.
Fernando Botero life and biography
Date of birth : 1932-04-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Medellin, Colombia
Nationality : Colombian
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-07-28
Credited as : Artist painter, sculptor, metal sculptures
Fernando Botero, also known as Fernando Botero Angulo born April 19, 1932 in Medellin, Colombia is a Colombian artist, painter and sculptor.
Known for his enormous metal sculptures and vibrantly colorful paintings of robust human and animal shapes, Colombian artist Fernando Botero was one of the most popular modern artists.
Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, in the Colombian Andes, on April 19, 1932. His parents, David and Flora Angulo de Botero, had been raised in the remote highlands of the Andes. His father, a traveling salesman who journeyed on horseback to outlying areas of the city, died when Botero was four, and his mother supported the family as a seamstress.
The second of three boys, Botero attended a Jesuit secondary school on a scholarship starting at age 12. His uncle also enrolled him in matador school, which he attended for two years, and the images in his first drawings come from the world of bullfighting (a watercolor of a matador is his first known work). Until he discovered a book of modern art at the age of 15 he "didn't even know this thing called art existed," he says.
In 1948 Botero decided he wanted to become an artist and first exhibited his work in a joint show in his native town. He began working at El Colombiano, Medellin's leading newspaper, illustrating the Sunday magazine. At this time a period of civil unrest began in Colombia, and there was a low tolerance for nonconformity and radicalism. Some of Botero's teachers began to express disapproval of his work, and he received several warnings about nudity in his newspaper illustrations. In response he published an article called "Picasso and Nonconformity in Art" and was subsequently expelled from the school. He completed his secondary education at the Liceo de la Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, graduating in 1950, and continued to publish articles on modern art.
Botero worked for two months for a traveling theater group as a set designer, then moved to Bogota, where he met some avant-garde intellectuals and artists and was influenced by the work of such Mexican muralists as Diego Rivera, Josè Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Botero's large watercolor paintings, such as 1949's Donna Che Piange (The Crying Woman), are from this period. In 1951 he had his first one-man exhibition--consisting of 25 oils, drawings, watercolors, and gouaches--at the Galerias de Arte Foto-Estudio Leo Matiz. All the pieces sold, and he took the proceeds from the exhibit and moved to a small coastal town to work.
In 1952 he moved back to Bogota and mounted his second show, which earned him 7,000 pesos. He won an additional 7,000 pesos when his 1952 painting Sulla Costa (On the Coast) took second place in the IX Salon Annual de Artistas Colombianos, sponsored by the Bogota National Library. He used these funds to move to Europe and study art. He spent a year in Madrid, enrolled in the San Ferdinando Academy, and earned a living by copying paintings by Francisco de Goya, Titian, Diego Velasquez, and Tintoretto and selling them to tourists. From there he moved to Paris, where he spent a summer studying old masters at the Louvre. From 1953 to 1954 he lived in Italy, attending the San Marco Academy in Florence, where he studied fresco techniques and copied works by Andrea del Castagno and Giotto, in addition to creating his own oil paintings. He studied with Roberto Longhi, who further stimulated his enthusiasm for the Italian Renaissance.
Developed Distinctive Style
In 1955, he returned to Bogota with his new paintings, 20 of which he exhibited at the National Library. His work was harshly criticized for not having a style of its own. Few paintings sold, and Botero was compelled to work at non-artistic employment. This included an attempt to sell automobile tires and a position doing magazine layout. At the end of the year, Botero married Gloria Zea and they moved to Mexico City, where their son, Fernando, was born.
In Mexico City Botero began developing his own style. In 1956, while at work on a painting called Still Life with Mandolin, he had a revelation that would change his art. As he sketched a mandolin, he placed a small dot where a larger sound hole should have been, making the mandolin suddenly seem enormous. He began to experiment with size and proportion in his work and eventually developed his trademark style. The people and objects in his paintings were inflated, giving them presence, weight, and a round sensuality. This style, combined with his paintings' Latin American-influenced flatness, bright colors and boldly outlined shapes, made him one of the 20th Century's most recognizable artists.
Gained Worldwide Recognition
Botero's art began to gain recognition outside Latin America. In 1957 he went to New York City, where the abstract expressionist movement was thriving. On that trip, he sold most of the paintings he exhibited at the Pan-American Union in Washington, D.C. He returned to Bogota in 1958, and his daughter, Lina, was born. He became a professor of painting at the Bogota Academy of Art, a post he held for two years. By this time he was renowned as one of the country's most promising artists.
He designed a portion of the illustrations for the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez's La Siesta del Martes, and the work also appeared in an important Colombian daily newspaper, El Tiempo. Amid some controversy, his painting Camera degli Sposi (The Bride's Chamber) won first prize in that year's Colombian salon and was exhibited the same year at the Gres Gallery in Washington, D.C. The Washington show was hugely successful, with nearly all his work selling on the first day. His work was also shown in 1958's Guggenheim International Award show in New York.
In 1959, following more exposure to abstract expressionism in the United States and a phase of personal tumult during which his marriage was dissolving, Botero's style began to change. He started painting in a monochromatic palette and using looser brushstrokes. His El Nino de Vallecas, painted in this style, was not as popular as his other work at a third Washington exhibit in October 1960. His son, Juan Carlos, was born that year, and Botero was nominated to represent Colombia at the II Mexico Biennial Exhibition.
In 1960, Botero moved to Greenwich Village in New York and began working at a feverish pace. His work, which celebrated volume and voluptuousness, received a generally tepid American response at a time when flatness was the craze, although in 1961 the Museum of Modern Art did buy his painting Monna Lisa all'età di Dodici Anni (Mona Lisa, Age 12). Despite the cool response, he kept painting work that was outside the mainstream. His 1962 exhibit at The Contemporaries Gallery in New York was harshly attacked in what Botero felt was a personal manner. In 1964, he married a second time, to Cecilia Zambrano.
Botero became fascinated by the art of the Flemish master Rubens and created a number of paintings inspired by him. By 1965, his painting had acquired greater sophistication. He began to concentrate on forms rather than individual brushstrokes, and the surfaces of objects appeared almost sculptural. His figures used subtle tones and were both monumental and plastic. He began to apply thin pastel-colored glazes to his canvases.
In 1966, Botero's work had its first European exhibition in Baden-Baden, Germany. He had begun to receive more American recognition, yet he felt at once that he was more tuned into the European sensibility. From 1966 to 1975, he divided his time among Europe, New York, and Colombia. On a visit to Germany, he became enamored of Albrecht Dürer's work, which inspired him to create a series of large charcoal drawings, "Dureroboteros," mimicking the German artist's famous paintings. He also painted works in which he interpreted the styles of Manet and Bonnard. In 1969, he mounted his first Paris exhibition and had become a full-fledged member of Europe's avant-garde by the early 1970s. His third son, Pedro, was born in New York in 1970.
During this period, Botero's painting moved beyond its focus on sensuous, sculptural, Latin forms and became harder and more sparkling, with an underlying darkness. An example from this period includes War, with its images of corpses. In 1973, he moved from New York to Paris and began to sculpt. His son, Pedro, was killed in an automobile accident in which the artist was also seriously injured, losing a finger and some motion in his right arm. Botero had painted his son repeatedly and continued to do so after the boy's death, working him into various paintings. Three years after his son's death, he dedicated a suite of galleries housed in Medellin's art museum to his son's memory. He and his second wife separated in 1975.
Sculpting and Politics
Botero devoted himself to sculpting from 1975 to 1977, putting his painting temporarily on hold. He created 25 metal sculptures that began from sketches. The subjects were huge animals (including bulls), human torsos, reclining women, and massive objects, including a gigantic coffee pot. His sculpture was exhibited at the Paris Art Fair in 1977, the year he also began to paint again (he paid homage to Velasquez in paintings depicting the Infantas--Spanish or Portuguese princesses). His work continued to be shown in galleries worldwide. In 1983 he established a workshop in an area of Tuscany renowned for its metalworks, which allowed him to spend several months each year creating his increasingly large sculptures, which weighed an average of 3,000 pounds. He also revisited bullfighting as subject matter for his painting, aspiring to become the definitive artist on the subject.
Botero became disturbed that his birthplace, Medellin, had become associated with the drug-trafficking cartel run by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Botero was said to be incensed that two of his paintings were discovered in Escobar's home after the druglord was killed in 1993. Despite Escobar's death, the violence continued in Medellin, and Botero was the target of a failed kidnapping in 1994.
In 1995 a guerrilla group blew up a sculpture of a dove, The Bird, that Bonero had donated to the city. The explosion occurred during a downtown street festival, and 23 people were killed while 200 others were wounded. When taking responsibility for the blast, the guerrillas called Botero a symbol of oppression. Botero cast a new dove for the plaza but insisted the remnants of the original remain so that the sculptures could represent peace and violence.
In 1996 Botero's son Fernando was convicted of accepting drug money to finance former Colombian President Ernesto Samper's campaign. Botero did not speak to his son for three years, but they later reconciled. In 2000, Botero began exhibiting paintings that reflected the violence in Colombia--images of massacres, torture, and car bombings, and one depicting Escobar's killing--a distinct departure from his usual domestic style. In a 2001 article in the Christian Science Monitor, Botero said, "Art should be an oasis, a. refuge from the hardness of life. But the Colombian drama is so out of proportion that today you can't ignore the violence, the thousands displaced and dead, the processions of coffins."
Donated Work to Colombian Museums
In 2000 Botero donated artwork valued at $200 million to two Colombian museums, the renovated Museum of Antioquia in Medellin and the cultural wing of the Banco de la Republica in Bogota. The Medellin site includes an area that was razed to create a sculpture garden, while the Bogota gift is housed in a 12-room gallery prepared for the collection. Botero's donation consisted of dozens of his own paintings and sculptures, as well as some 90 pieces from his private collection, including 14 impressionist paintings (including oils by Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Pissarro), four Picassos, and works by Dali, Miro, Chagall, Ernst, de Kooning, Klimt, Rauschenberg, Giacometti, and Calder.
Botero estimated that by the mid-1990s he had created 1,000 paintings and 100 sculptures. His work had become very popular in the 1980s and commanded high sums. In 1992 a brothel scene sold for $1.5 million at auction. His pencil and watercolor canvases have carried on his familiar themes--portrait-style images of people, brothel scenes, nudes, and still lifes. He married for a third time, to Greek sculptor Sophia Vari, and divided his time among Paris, New York City, Italy, and Colombia.
In January 2002 the French ambassador to Columbia inducted Botero into the Legion of Honor. Botero was honored by this since France had lent aid to help boost peace between Columbia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.