You may have heard of Diego Rivera, but have you seen the works of Fernando Angulo Botero? Self proclaimed as “The most Colombian of Colombian Artists”, is known for his signature style; Boterismo.
Boterismo depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volumes, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece.
Botero was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932. His mother was a seamstress and his father passed away when he was just four years old. He was enamored by art from the tender age of 12 and went to school to be a bullfighter, per his uncle’s request.
After being flung into the air on his back by a bull, he decided to pursue his passion for Art. He moved penniless to Italy, Spain, Mexico and then to New York, studying different art forms such as; Renaissance, Fresco and Baroque.
In 1961, Botero was discovered by NY MOMA art curator; Dorothy Miller. Miller was near his studio to see the artwork of another artist, who referred her to pay him a visit. She ended up purchasing his famous “Mona Lisa” and his talent was discovered.
Botero is famous for painting immense Figurative paintings and his Huge bronze sculptures. It would seem that he had an affinity towards chubby men and women. But Botero has refuted this claim by stating, “I’m not interested in fat for fat’s sake,” he explains, “I make the characters fat to give them sensuality…For me, the pleasure in a painting comes from the exaltation of life, expressed in the sensuality of forms.”
On another occasion Botero stated, added with a wry smile, “A large, immense apple is more of an apple than the commonplace apple of everyday life. The purpose is to magnify the essence of things.” His exaggerated figures have also been satire on society and hierarchy and at times allegorical and mischievous .
No other Latino artist has been revered and exhibited all over the world. He has had exhibits in France, China, Spain, Bolivia and all over Latin America. He has two museums in Colombia, Museo Botero, in Bogotá and El Museo de Antioquia,in Botero Plaza. One of the most noteworthy and incredibly generous acts has been donating his entire private collection (over 300 of his works!) to El Museo de Antioquia in Medellín, as well as to Banco de la República in Bogotá.
Not only has he influenced and shared his passion with the world, he leaves an incredible legacy to his children and grandchildren. They all live throughout the world, but every year they have a family reunion in Medellin.
I highly encourage you to look up Botero’s work and read about his Legacy. It would be impossible to write about all his styles, works and experiences. He leaves an example of what one can do with true passion, amazing work ethic, and determination to follow your dream. He was known by his wife and children to be painting around the clock. Botero himself has declared, “ My Life is to Paint!”.
As for this blogger, it was a privilege to learn and tell you about this amazing Gran Hombre!