Monday, May 3, 2010

Artist of the Week: Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero (1932–)

Fernando Botero's distinctive style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale is today instantly recognizable. It reflects the artist's constant search to give volume presence and reality. The parameters of proportion in his world are innovative and almost always surprising. Appropriating themes from all of art history-- from the Middle Ages, the Italian quattrocento, and Latin American colonial art to the modern trends of the 20th century--Botero transforms them to his own particular style.
Born in 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, Botero became interested in painting at an early age. His artistic precocity was evident in an illustrated article he contributed to the Medellin newspaper El Colombiano when he was seventeen. Titled Picasso and the Nonconformity of Art it revealed his avant-garde thinking about modern art. Botero moved to Bogotá in 1951 and held his first one-man exhibition there at the Leo Matiz Gallery. The following year, at the age of twenty, he was awarded a Second Prize at the National Salon in Bogota. Read entire biography here

“A painted landscape is always more beautiful than a real one, because there's more there. Everything is more sensual, and one takes refuge in its beauty. And man needs spiritual expression and nourishing. It's why even in the prehistoric era, people would scrawl pictures of bison on the walls of caves. Man needs music, literature, and painting-all those oases of perfection that make up art-to compensate for the rudeness and materialism of life.”

"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."

"I describe in a realistic form a nonrealistic reality."
~Fernando Botero

”Art is a spiritual, immaterial respite from the hardships of life."

"When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you. At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting."


  1. Excellent stuff. Looking at Botero's work I think of Beryl Cook although her subject matter is different

  2. I love Fernando's work. And I refer to him thusly because his photo reminded me immediately of you dear father.

    "The First Lady" is my favorite of the paintings you've showcased, both because it tickles me to see that poor horsey depicted in those proportions (and beneath that burden!) and because The Lady's kneecaps made me chuckle.

    Thanks as always for your great eye and keen interest in such a variety of artists!

  3. I have always loved the band with the dancers - from the colors, to the size differences between the musicians and the couple...

    But that painting with the melon and that pink cloth. The little slice of pink, such a tiny slice of melon, makes the entire painting extraordinary!!! It's this sense, this gift at placing the perfect little something, that makes me want to sing and shout. Some artists do it regularly. Some do it repeatedly in the same painting. It makes my inner self vibrate like a bell.

    And that comment about a painting beginning inside you, and then ending inside the painting. YES! YES! YES! That's brilliant. That's it exactly. The painting comes from inside and as you create it it becomes a place you inhabit. I have left sunny places in my paintings and felt like maybe I had a little sunburn. Or I felt like my hair had been blown around by the wind. Or I wanted to go check what house I had growing out of the top of MY head. Or I could smell birds and hear their wings all around me.

    And I love the little beauty mark on the face of the black suited hairy man with the pit bull. What fun. What serious playful beauty.

  4. These are wonderful. I've seen his work before but only a piece here and there so this is neat.

    I have developed a particular fondness for the nun with the green apple. Very clever.

  5. I love the shapes of his subjects...!

    And CR took the words right off my finger tips: Besides sharing the name, he really does resemble your wonderful Dad.


  6. He does look like my dad. Perhaps even a shade stranger than my dad! :-) I miss him so.

    CR: thanks for that neat-o book you gave me on Botero. It inspired this post. I've always liked his work but he's now makes the short list.

    UM: hi, Sweet. Yeah, I love how the roundness of everything adds such beauty to the details. Or is that the other way around? ;-)

    Steve: I'm so happy that you derived something personal to your own paintings in Botero's quotes. It's comments like yours that keep me blogging about art. Otherwise, I'm one in a million of people doing it! :-) And that goes for CR and my daughter as well.

    All the love,
    Pagan Sphinx

  7. Really good. Reminds me of Beryl Cook - she must have been into this bloke (or vice versa).

  8. Susan: do you suppose the nun could be eating a prickly pear? My first thought, actually, was that it a lime! ;-)

  9. I love his animals, especially the horses, neeeeegh, said the horse. Love Wayne


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