Fernando Botero (born April 19, 1932) is a neo-figurative Colombian artist,
self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists." He strives
in all his work to capture an essential part of himself and his subjects
through color and form. His work includes still-life and landscapes, but
Botero tends to primarily focus on situational portraiture. His paintings
and sculptures are, on first examination, noted for their exaggerated
proportions and the corpulence of the human figures and animal figures.
The "fat people" are often thought by critics to satirize the
subjects and situations that Botero chooses to paint. Botero explains
his use of obese figures and forms as such: "An artist is attracted
to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively;
only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it." He
is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense of the word, choosing
what colors, shapes, and proportions to use based on intuitive aesthetic
thinking. This being said, his works are informed by a Colombian upbringing
and social commentary is woven all throughout his work.
Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia, whose Catholic churches
still maintained the Baroque style. His upbringing was marked by isolation
from the traditional art venues such as museums and other cultural infrastructures.
His Colombian heritage thus informs his art.
During his teenage years, he studied art in Paris, and then moved on
to Florence - where he was influenced by the techniques of the Italian
masters. He was especially appreciative of Giotto's unprecedented use
of space, perspective, and volume. Botero's supreme figures look like
putti often seen in European Renaissance art.
In early 2004, Botero donated a series of 23 oil paintings and 27 drawings
depicting different elements of the country's longlasting violence, created
between 1999 and 2004, to the National Museum of Colombia, where they
were first publicly displayed between May 4 and June 11.
In early 2005, Botero revealed a series of 50 paintings that graphically
represent the controversial Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal,
expressing the rage and shock that the incident provoked in the artist.
The works were initially presented at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, and
later in Germany and Greece. In October 2006, they were displayed at the
Marlborough Gallery in New York City, their first showing in the United
States. Botero has stated that he does not plan to sell the paintings,
but instead intends to donate them to museums as a reminder of the events
When Colombian children go to church they see all these Madonnas,
so clean and perfect. In South America china-like perfection is very much
a part of the ideal of beauty. More so even than the polychrome wood sculptures
in Spain, Latin American sculptures look like porcelain. So, in contrast
to Europe or North America, you connect the notions of art and beauty
at a very early age. I grew up with the idea that art is beauty. All my
life I've been trying to produce art that is beautiful to discover all
the elements that go to make up visual perfection. When you come from
my background you cant be spoilt by beauty, because you've never
really seen it. If you're born in Paris, say, you can see art everywhere,
so by the time you come to create art yourself youre spoilt
you're tired of beauty as such and want to do something else. With me
it was quite different. I wasn't tired of beauty; I was hungering for
Fernando Botero. (2007, January 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 00:27, February 2, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fernando_Botero&oldid=104310697
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