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Home / Great Artists / B / Fernando Botero (inspired by) / Biography
Biography Fernando Botero (inspired by)

Fernando Botero (inspired by) Biography

born in 1932

Colombian Neo-Figurative Painter

Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19, 1932 in Medellin, Antioquia) is a Colombian neo-figurative artist, self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists" early on, coming to prominence when he won the first prize at the Salon de Artistas Colombianos in 1959.

Whilst he lived in Dinard, Brittany, 1942, for example "Deux femmes courant sur la plage" (The Course). 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" is what they are often called by critics. 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 throughout his work.

Donation and controversy
In early 2004, Botero donated a series of 23 oil paintings and 27 drawings depicting different elements of the country's long lasting 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 incident, 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. They were exhibited at The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California in Berkeley in the spring of 2007. The Abu Ghraib series was then presented in Washington, DC at the American University Museum until December 2007 and is currently showing in Monterrey, Mexico. 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 depicted within. Botero also went to the university of Florida for his degree.

On May 28 2008 during the Delaware Art Museum exhibition of "The Unique World of Fernando Botero," sportscaster Adam Schefter was briefly detained by museum security after he attempted to lick what he referred to as "yummy frosting" from Botero's still life Feliz Cumpleanos. Schefter was released after several hours.

Early years
Botero was born in Medellin, 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 and marked by his poor relationship with father. His Colombian heritage thus informs him. At the age of 16 he published his first illustrations in the Colombian newspaper El Colombiano and with his earnings from this he managed to pay for his high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia. In 1952 he traveled to Bogota and after five months he was able to give a personal exposition at the Leo Matiz gallery and later this same year he won the IX edition of the Salon de Artistas Colombianos. He then traveled to study arts in France.

"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 toilet 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 can't 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 you're 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 it."

Fernando Botero Paintings and Drawings. Ed. Werner Spies. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1992. Translated from German edition Fernando Botero: Bilder, Zeichnungen, Skulpturen. Interview was conducted by Peter Stepan on May 8, 1986, in Munich.