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Transcript of Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero, the Colombian artist (painter and sculptor) best known because its robust and exorbitant human shapes, is as much a live history as a living legend.
Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, Antioquia Department, Colombia, April, 19th 1932. His father was a road seller who travelled riding a donkey across the inhospitable mountainous regions. When Fernando was only two years old, suddenly his father death, leaving Fernando grew up with his mother and his two brothers. It is said, this tragic event left him a permanent emptiness feeling and sadness he never would be able to face it.
Today’s Medellin is quite different from the Botero’s childhood Medellin. Then, Medellin was a small provincial and peacefully village, where the Church played an important role in life and morality of each one. Botero attended to a Jesuits school, which were very severe. To enjoy his free time, Botero began to draw and after to paint.
Once he grew up he became a really admirer of bullfights, which is a popular sport in Colombia, inherited from Spaniards. Since he was 13, he began to paint bullfight scenes, selling them in front of the bullring by 5 pesos and later, as a professional, he dedicated close to two years to paint only that scenes.
His talent and knowledge of art was evident since his early ages. When he was 17, he collaborated on a Medellin’s newspaper “El Colombiano” article, called “Picasso y la no conformidad del arte”, which served to reveal his vanguard mindset about art.
Botero moved to Bogotá in 1951 where he exhibited in Leo Matiz’s art gallery for the first time when he was 19. Each one of his works was sold. Ironically, Botero grew up feeling difficulties to move away from his works, so he became the greatest collector of his own work, despite the huge amount of money offers he received for his works from admirers and collector from all over the world.
Botero, as many artists that time did, decided to travel to Europe to study great masters’ work. He attended to San Fernando Academy in Madrid, Spain, where he developed works looking like Velazquez’s and Goya’s style, and at Florence, Italy, where he learned Italian masters’ fresco techniques. In 1956, he taught in Bogota’s Universidad de Bellas Artes, Colombia, and travelled to Mexico city to study Rivera’s and Orozco’s work. Since then, his fresco’s experiences influenced significantly his future as an artist.
Botero’s painting style best known arose around 1964 and they are featured by
rounded and inflated, shapes painted with a smooth brush stroke almost invisible
, and swelled up until they become in an enlarged size human shapes with natural characteristics and all kind of objects, celebrating life by theirs own while they are making fun of its world’s role. His paintings’ subjects frequently seem like they were posing to be photographed, maybe to capture theirs image and personality in a full silence, motionless.
In 1959, Botero introduced his work called
in a New York’s Modern Art Museum exhibit. That exhibition settled his reputation as a world great painter.
Despite the rounded and exorbitant shapes are satirical and expecting to be humorous too, they as well contribute to suggest political and social comments. Authority and power symbols are present frequently in his work, presidents’, soldiers’ and preachers’ portraits became Botero’s aim. He condemned militarism, moral and Colombia’s bourgeoisie behavior.
Just like the permanently presence of his exorbitant figures was a constant, his work faced towards his Colombia native. For example, paintings like his 1989’s work “Hombre con un perro” and “La Colombiana” of 1983, portrayed people in situations and scenes of Colombian typical landscapes. Some of his images still have Colombian flag and some other obvious references. Despite his wide and experienced training, it seems that his childhood scenes never left his mind. Marc Fumaroli called his paintings “an universe of the improbable, which comes as much clear and truly in rhetoric, myths and tales, summarizing, in childhood”.
But as much as his work shows his love for his natal region, Botero also bring with him generic themes turning his work into universal. He includes themes that cover in an extensive manner art history –since Middle Age, Italian Barroco, colonial art, Latin American art to vanguard modern art. Fernando Botero also created parodies of some art works, including Bonnard and David. Along his art’s different periods, his art have shown external influencies. For example, his sixties’ work clearly had been influenced by French Paul Gauguin and Spaniard Pablo Picasso.
But people say his work and person are best compared to Peter Paul Rubens, a XVII century’s artist, whom he admires widely. Rubens’ work was Barroco’s personification which voluptuous and fleshy shapes “ exist in a world of exuberant and summit, as much in sacred field as profane.”
Once Botero said:
“In the art, as long as you have ideas and think, you are intended for deform nature. Art is deformation.”
Fernando Botero lives with his second wife, Greek artist Sophia Vari, in both Paris, France, and coastal Italy. He continues to exhibit his works around the world.
Some of the works of Fernando Botero
As his sculpture developed, by the 1990s, outdoor exhibitions of huge bronze figures were staged around the world to great success.
These is the
we have in
It´s called "El guerrero"
This work had been made by Guillermo Cobelo García