Big, big, bigger Botero
Here’s a little post I wrote on Botero. My mom was behind on the posts, so I offered to help out. She gave me Botero. I really enjoyed researching his life probably because I really like his art.
Fernando Botero was born on the 19th of April, 1932 in the Colombian city of Medellin. His father David was a business man and his mother Flora was a seamstress. His father died when Botero was 4 years old. Thankfully, one of his Uncles took a major role in his life. When Fernando Botero was 16 he published his first paintings in the local newspaper. He used that money to attend a high school. 2 years later, Botero worked as a set designer. A year after that he moved to Bogota where he was in his first 1 man art exhibit. He was then invited to travel with a few other artists to Barcelona, maybe even met Joan Miro when he was there? But he didn’t stay long. He quickly moved away to Madrid. Later that year he traveled back to Bogota for another art exhibit. In 1953 he moved to France, and studied there for a year. Afterwards, he traveled to Italy to study the Renaissance Masters. More recently, he’s lives in Paris, but spends 1 month a year in his home city of Medellin.
Fernando Botero married Gloria Zea, and had 3 children together. In 1960 they divorced and both of them re-married other people. In 1964, Botero re-married to Cecilia Zambrano and had a son, Pedro in 1974. They separated the next year. In 1979 Pedro died in a car accident, and Botero was injured. Seems like his life has had some tragedies.
My impression on Botero is he’s a wonderful artist and very unique. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
The Big Art
Here’s some of the images we took when we visited the museum in Medellin, Colombia. I think it’s amazing how the plaza outside the museum is filled with these giant statues and they are a natural part of the scenery, people just hanging out on and around them.
Miro hanging out on top of one of the sculptures.
We’re trying to do the same pose as the mother and child in this sculpture. Unfortunately Miro is too big.
Love all the people casually hanging around the art, carrying on with things.
from the Botero gallery:
Why Does Botero Paint Fat People?
“I fatten my characters to give them sensuality. I’m not interested in fat people for the sake of fat people.”
When we look at the work of Fernando Botero, be it a painting, drawing or sculpture, we are amazed at the enormous size of the figures, as much animals as people and things. Botero explored the possibilities of art to create and recreate reality constituting a personal artistic language, characterized by the exaltation of forms and volume.
His curiosity led him to study the great works of art history and cultures including the masters of antiquity and the Renasainse and pre-Colombian imagery popular in Colombia today.
The figures painted and sculpted by Botero are not really ‘fat’. They are his formal bid for expressing the sensuality of form, to explore the possibilities of volume and give monumentality to the protagonists of his pictorial world.
His language is achieved thanks to the contrast to giant and dwarf forms, the application of light colors in the center of the shapes and dark ones around the edges, and the play of proportions, which allows him to alter the laws of perspective and to place compositional items according to his formal needs.
Botero has said about his figures, “What I say is that they are not fat, but voluminous. If I make a fruit, a landscape, an animal, a man, anything, it is a deformation to exalt volume. So I do not see them as fat, but as voluminous. Fat can also be Michelangelo, Masaccio or all Florentine art that is voluminous.”
In the middle of the 20th century, in a moment which many artists of the vanguard were making abstract paintings, Botero took his own path: he continued painting recognized figures, providing them volume and intense colors, in scenarios close to everyday life in Latin America, leaving his mark on recent art history in a way undeniably unique.
If you like reading about art, please be sure to listen to our podcast interview with Mario Lanz, a wonderful Guatemalan artist, check out my post on when I met the Guatemalan Picasso Efrain Recinos, Guatemalan muralist, sculptor, engineer and architect, who among many other buildings designed the National Theatre in Guatemala City. And finally, be sure to see my art commentary, review and photo essay called Guatemala City, Art & Capitalism?