Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero is a Colombian painter and sculptor known for his volumetric stylization of figures and objects. His works range in subject matter such as daily life in Colombia, art historical references like the Mona Lisa, and abuses of power—all unified by Botero’s exaggeratedly rounded figures. Botero attended a school for matadors for several years, but his true passion was for art. During his teenage years, he began painting and was inspired by the pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial art that surrounded him as well as by the political work of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Botero’s paintings were first exhibited in 1948, and two years later, he had his first one-man show in Bogota. When he moved to New York City in 1960, he had developed his trademark style: the depiction of rounded humans and animals. In these works he was inspired by Latin-American folk art which can be seen through his use of flat, bright colour and boldly outlined forms. The artists preferred a smooth look in his paintings, eliminating the appearance of brushwork and texture. Botero also continued to paint, creating bullfight scenes throughout the 1980s and later finding inspiration in topical issues. He also studied his home country’s violence and illegal-drug industry. In 2004, after the torture of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison came to light, Botero began creating numerous paintings and drawings on the scandal. He turned to a lighter subject matter with a series of colourful works featuring circus performers, which was first exhibited in 2008. Botero has lived most of the time in Paris, but spends one month a year in his native city of Medellín. He has had more than 50 exhibitions in major cities across the world, and his works have sold for millions of dollars.

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