|Nombre||Fernando Botero Angulo|
|Fecha de nacimiento||19 de abril de 1932|
|Ocupación||Pintor, dibujante y escultor|
|Bachillerato||Colegio de Jesuitas de Bolívar|
|País de nacimiento||Colombia, }}|
|Ciudad de nacimiento||Medellín|
|Familia||David Botero Mejía (Padre), Flora Angulo de Botero (Madre), Juan David (Hermano), Rodrigo (Hermano), Fernando Botero Zea (hijo), Lina Botero Zea (Hija), Juan Carlos Botero Zea (Hijo), Pedrito Botero Zambrano (Hijo)|
Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist that has produced paintings, drawings, and sculptures, born in Medellin on April 19, 1932. Botero is one of the most recognized plastic artists in Colombia in recent decades. His vast work, now fully consolidated, his deliberate dislike for contemporary art and his extensive knowledge of the history of classical painting make Botero an exceptional artist in the country and the rest of Latin America. His paintings and drawings are highly personal works that in no way can be confused with the various international figurative positions of recent years. His art is, to some extent, retrograde and provincial. It depends more on the art of the great masters, on popular art, on the pre-Columbian tradition, on the imagery of the colonial period of Latin America, than on any figurative "ism".
Born in Medellín on April 19, 1932, Botero was the second of three children of David Botero Mejía, a businessman, and Flora Angulo de Botero, a seamstress. His older brother Juan David had been born four years earlier, and his younger brother Rodrigo was born in 1936, the same year his father died.
In 1938 Botero began his primary education and continued his secondary education at the Bolívar Jesuit School.
In 1948, at the age of 16, he published his first illustrations in the Sunday magazine of El Colombiano, one of the most important newspapers in Medellín. After finishing his high school studies in 1950, he moved to Bogotá in 1951.
In 1955 he married the cultural manager Gloria Zea, with whom he had three children: Fernando, Lina, and Juan Carlos. The latter was born in 1960, the same year Botero separated from his first wife.
In 1964 he married for the second time with Cecilia Zambrano, with whom he had his fourth child: Pedrito, born in 1970. In 1974, when he was but four years old, the boy died in a family traffic accident in Spain. The marriage did not overcome the loss of the child and Botero separated for the second time.
In 1973, he settled in Paris, where he met the Greek sculptor and painter Sophia Vari, whom he married in 1978. He now lives between Paris, Pietrasanta, and New York.
Botero's first known works are drawings: the illustrations for the literary supplement of the El Colombiano newspaper in Medellín. In 1951, after moving to Bogotá, he had his first individual exhibition at the Leo Matiz gallery, presenting watercolors, gouaches, ink drawings, and oils. With the sales of some of his works exhibited on that occasion, he settled in Tolú. On his return to the capital, he exhibited again, this time with more success. At the IX National Artists’ Salon, held in 1952, Botero won second prize in oil painting with “Frente al mar” (In Front of the Sea). He was 20 years old at the time and decided to travel to Europe. He spent a short time at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid and then at the San Marco Academy in Florence, where he took classes on the art of the Italian Quattrocento with Roberto Longhi.
He remained in Europe until 1955. Of these years in Europe, Botero has commented: "I actually consider myself self-taught. I worked for three years in fine arts schools, but practically never had a teacher. I learned by reading, going at museums, and above all painting."
In 1956 he traveled to Mexico, then to Washington and New York. On his return to Colombia in 1957, his oil painting Contrapunto he shared the second prize in painting at the X National Artists’ Salon with Alejandro Obregón and Jorge Elías Triana. In 1958, he won the first prize in the XI National Artists’ Salon, with the oil painting La camera degli sposi (Homage to Mantegna). Since then, Botero's dealings with the great masters of the past and with a few modern ones have been constant. Botero strove to—and indeed did—paint and draw like the best. In pursuit of this aim he not only visited the museums and methodically studied techniques and procedures but also worked long hours. This familiarity with and admiration for art since the Renaissance explains the charcoal work Dinner with Ingres and Piero della Francesca (1972), in which Botero sits at the table with the French Neoclassical painter and the great Italian painter of the Quattrocento.
But although Botero has taken a seat at the table with European masters thanks to his talent, commitment, and hard work, Botero continues to be an artist from Latin America, from Colombia, and even from Medellin: "Many artists believe that art becomes universal if you copy universally. I don't think so. I think you have to be honest with yourself, and by being honest you can reach people all over the world [...] I am the most Colombian of Colombian artists, even though I have lived outside of Colombia for so long, since 1960 [...] In a way, I paint Colombia the way I want it to be, but it is not really like that. It is an imaginary Colombia that both is and is not the same as the true Colombia.” In 1961, he moved to New York, where he worked for twelve years. He then settled in Paris. Nevertheless, Botero is a true representative of Latin American art not only because of his themes of nuns, prelates, military men, brothels, villages with simple houses, and still lifes with tropical fruits, but also because of his magical realism.
Botero stated in 1967: "I am a protest against modern painting and yet I use what is hidden behind its back, playing ironically with everything that is absolutely known to everyone. I paint figuratively and realistically, but not in the flat sense of fidelity to nature. I never give a brushstroke that does not describe something real: a mouth, a hill, a pitcher, a tree. But what I describe is a reality found by me. It could be formulated in this way: I describe realistically an unrealistic reality.” Tracy Atkinson, one of several foreign critics who have discussed Botero’s work, wrote, "Botero’s world is people in a broad sense. A repertoire that is generally absurd and a bit pathetic. But the warmth and sympathy of its treatment saves it from its ugliness and makes it instantly unforgettable. The artist’s attitude is so intense and consistent that it reaches into all things”.
In Botero’s paintings are figures encircled by lines. Even in his Expressionist phase, we see vehement strokes that define the representation. His oeuvre contains large format drawings, many on canvas. Undoubtedly, Botero gives special importance to drawing.
His is a world suffering from gigantism, but full of innocence and the best of attitudes. Behind this theme appears the quality of the painting itself, which is exceptional from the point of view of the craft. Botero's paintings are, above all, paintings of great beauty. The artist has chosen a traditional manner of painting, but this is so transformed by his personal vision that it becomes unique and very original. He works from a known and well-remembered world, but in it many wonderful things arise and take place: the composition of eight prelates piled up on top of each other like the fruits in a still life in the oil painting Obispos Muertos (Dead Bishops), 1965; the disproportion between the tiny first lady and the military giant, with a tiny cup, from the oil painting Dictador tomando chocolate (Dictator Drinking Hot Chocolate), 1969; or the presence of a snake and a crocodile on the floor of the room in the oil painting Familia con animales colombianos (Family with Colombian Animals), 1970. The catalog of Botero's exhibition, organized by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington in 1979, divided his works into six categories: 1) religion: Madonnas, saints, devils, cardinals, bishops, nuncios, mothers superior, nuns; 2) masters of art history: various interpretations of works by Jan van Eyck, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Caravaggio, El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, Juan Sánchez Cotán, Georges de la Tour, etc.; 3) still and moving lifes: animals, especially in the sculptures of recent years; 4) nudes and sexual manners: particularly whorehouse scenes; 5) politicians, presidents, first ladies, military men; and 6) real and imaginary people: the cyclist Ramon Hoyos, art dealers, members of his family, numerous self-portraits, and many anonymous characters who pose, eat, dance or ride horses.
Among the imaginary people are the bullfighters and many other characters from that world, a recurring theme in Botero's work since the early eighties, as seen in his Flamenco tablaos. According to Simón Alberto Consalvi, "Botero's bullfighting is a confession: an exercise in nostalgia and, finally, a celebration of great bulls, brave matadors, Bourbon horsemen, suicide horses, and celebratory muses." But the raucous celebration cannot be understood without the presence of death, and Botero knows this well; he has produced works such as Toro muriendo (Dying Bull), oil, 1985 and Muerte de Ramón Torres (Death of Ramón Torres), oil, 1986, in which the winner is a skeleton wielding a sword while riding the animal. Since 1976, Botero has combined his work in painting and drawing with sculpture.
In 1977, he exhibited his sculptures for the first time at the Grand Palais in Paris. Including some previous works made with acrylic paste that date back to the early sixties, Botero today has an abundant three-dimensional oeuvre, especially in bronze and marble. Reading the artist's own texts that comment on his sculptures, one can easily understand the archaization that characterizes of all his three-dimensional works. Botero speaks, for example, of again confronting the problem of seeking the spirit of colonial sculpture, within traditional materials such as bronze or marble, with roots in pre-Columbian art and taking inspiration from popular Mexican art pieces.
It cannot be denied that in the best workshops of Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy, Botero has produced sculptures of a remarkably high quality, especially when he has enlarged a fragment of the human body or created an absurd contrast between two figures or parts of a body. Botero has received recognition, such as the exhibition of his sculptures in the Champs Elysees in Paris (1992) and on Fifth Avenue in New York (1993), as well as the exhibition La corrida in the Luis Angel Arango Library in Bogota (1993). Even today, Botero seems inexhaustible. Creator of an unmistakable "race," possessor of an unlimited imagination, taster of the best classical painters, connoisseur of all the traditional crafts of painting, drawing, and sculpture, legitimate son of Colombia and Latin America, the image maker from Antioquia assures us that the problem lies not in changing but in deepening [See Volume 6, Art, p. 127-128].
- 1932: Born in Medellín, Antioquia.
- 1936: His father David Botero, who would later become a recurring subject of his work, dies at the age of 40.
- 1949: Works as an illustrator for the newspaper El Colombiano of Medellín.
- 1950: Participates in the Salon of Antioquian Painters held at the Institute of Fine Arts in Medellin.
- 1951: First exhibition in Bogota at the Leo Matiz Art Gallery.
- 1952: Obtains the second prize in the IX National Artists' Salon with the painting Frente al mar (In Front of the Sea), 1952. He journeys to Europe to train as a painter.
- 1955: Returns to Colombia and settles in Bogotá. Exhibits at the National Library in Bogota.
- 1956: Travels and settles in Mexico to continue his training as a painter.
- 1957: Shares the second prize in painting at the X National Artists’ Salon with Alejandro Obregón and Jorge Elías Triana with Alejandro Obregón for the oil painting Contrapunto (1957).
- 1958: The inaugural exhibition of the Luis Angel Arango Library in Bogotá enjoys Botero's participation with Mandolina sobre una silla (Mandolin on a Chair), 1957.
- First prize in the XI National Artists’ Salon with the oil painting La camera degli sposi (Homage to Mantegna) (1958).
- 1959: Represents Colombia at the fifth São Paulo Biennial along with Enrique Grau, Alejandro Obregón, Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Armando Villegas y Guillermo Wiedemann.
- 1960: Guggenheim International Award for the painting Arzodiablomaquia (1960). Settles in New York.
- 1961: His work Monalisa a los doce años (Mona Lisa at Age Twelve), 1959, is acquired by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
- 1962: Solo show at The Contemporaries in New York.
- 1964: Solo show at the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO).
- 1966: First solo show in Europe at Staatliche Kunsthalle from Baden Baden, Alemania.
- 1967: His work La familia presidencial (The Presidential Family), 1967, is acquired by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
- 1976: A retrospective exhibition is held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas. The Venezuelan government awards him the Order of Andrés Bello.
- 1977: Obtains the Cross of Boyacá in the grade of Officer. He exhibits his sculptures for the first time at the Grand Palais in Paris. The Pedrito Botero hall in the Museum of Antioquia is inaugurated with a donation of 16 works by the artist, as a tribute to his son who died in 1974.
- 1980: Sets up a residence in Pietrasanta, Italia, where he produces his sculpture in bronze and marble.
- 1984: Donates a sculpture hall to the Museum of Antioquia in Medellín and the National Library of Colombia in Bogotá.
- 1987: A retrospective exhibition of his work is held at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
- 1992: Presents 32 sculptures at Champs-Elysées in Paris.
- 1993: Sculptures exhibited along Fifth Avenue in New York.
- Presents the exhibition La corrida at the Luis Ángel Arango Library in Bogotá.
- 1995: A terrorist attack targets the sculpture El pájaro (The Bird) in San Antonio Square in Medellín, killing 30 people.
- 1998: Presents 24 sculpture at Praça do Comércio in Lisbon.
- 2000: Donates 208 of his own works and his collection of international art to Banco de la República in Bogotá, thus creating the Botero Museum. A donation of 108 works is made to the Museo de Antioquia in Medellín as well. Plaza Botero in Medellín opens with 23 of his sculptures.
- 2004: Donates a series of works on violence called El dolor de Colombia (Colombia's Pain) to Colombia's National Museum of Bogotá.
- 2007: Donates the 47 works of his series Abu Ghraib (2005) to the University of California, Berkeley.
- 2012: Retrospective exhibition at Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. He donates the series El Viacrucis (The Way of the Cross), 2011, to the Museo de Antioquia in Medellín.
- 2015: Exhibition El circo (The Circus) in Medellín.
- 2015-2016: Anthological exhibition at China's National Museum in Beijing and the China Art Museum in Shanghai. Exhibits the series Boterosutra (2013) at Musée Würth in Erstein, France.
- 2018: Exhibition El joven maestro. Botero, obra temprana (The Young Master)
- 2020: Botero Museum in Bogotá turns 20.
- 1952: Frente al mar (In Front of the Sea)
- Cocos (Coconuts)
- 1957: Contrapunto
- Mandolina sobre una silla: Mandolina sobre una silla (Mandolin on a Chair)
- 1958: La Camara degli sposi (Homaje to Mantegna)
- 1959: Monalisa a los doce años (Mona Lisa at Age Twelve)
- 1960: Arzodiablomaquia
- 1961: Obispos muertos (Dead Bishop)
- 1963: Nuestra señora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fatima)
- 1965: La familia Pinzón (The Pinzón Family)
- 1967: La familia presidencial (The Presidential Family)
- 1975: Mano izquierda (Left Hand)
- 1978: El matrimonio Arnolfini (The Arnolfini Marriage)
- 1978: Monalisa (Mona Lisa)
- 1988: La cornada (The Goring)
- 1989: Una familia (A Family)
- Caminando cerca al río (Walking Along the River)
- 1990: El estudio (The Studio)
- 1995: El pájaro (The Bird)
- 2000: Masacre de Mejor Esquina (Mejor Esquina Massacre)
- 2005: Abu Ghraib (series)
- 2004-2007: El circo (The Circus), series
- 2011: Viacrucis (The Way of the Cross), series
- 2013: Boterosutra (series)
In the year 2000, Fernando Botero donated to Banco de la República an art collection of 208 works, 123 of his own and 85 by renowned international nineteenth and twentieth century artists. Botero Museum was founded with this collection in La Candelaria neighborhood, the historical center of Bogota, in a large colonial house that until 1955 was the seat of the city’s archbishop. The building was restored and adapted to the needs of the museum by Banco de la República under the precepts and curation of Master Botero himself with the support of Ana María Escallón. Since November 1, 2000, the donation has been freely available to the public. During Botero Museum’s opening ceremony, the artist declared:
- "It brings me infinite pleasure to know that these works belong to Colombia today; to know that the students who enter this house will come into contact with the most important artistic currents of our time, contemplating here, permanently, original works of great masters; to know that the lovers of painting and sculpture can come to visit this haven of peace and walk quietly through these rooms, allowing themselves to be flooded by modern aesthetics." 
History of the house
The headquarters of Botero Museum, located on Calle 11 between Carrera 4 and Carrera 5, was built between 1724 and 1733 to be the palace of the archbishop of Santa Fe. Years later, the Mint was built next to the palace by its director Tomás Sánchez Reciente. The first renovation of the palace took place between 1788 and 1790 during the administration of the bishop Antonio Caballero y Góngora, in order to expand the library area and the space for the art collection. Notable aspects of its architecture were the presence of a chimney and a water fountain in the interior courtyard, exotic features that in the colonial era denoted luxury and power
The archbishop's palace was the target of several attacks in 1862 and 1886. However, on April 9, 1948, the day of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán's assassination and as a result of the riots and looting that occurred in response in the center of Bogotá, the house was burned down and completely destroyed. Banco de la República then decided to acquire the land and to undertake the work of reconstructing it based on aerial photographs and images of the original facade. In 1955, it was rented to the Supreme Court of Justice, and in 1979 it became the Luis López de Mesa Newspaper Library. After the takeover of the Palace of Justice in November 1985, the house was again used as a temporary Supreme Court. In the nineties, the house was transformed into an art exhibition area and offices for the Cultural Division of Banco de la República. In the year 2000, following Fernando Botero’s donation of the 208 works, the house was again reformed to become the permanent venue of the Botero Museum.
International art collection
The international collection donated by Fernando Botero consists of 85 artworks. These comprise drawings, watercolors, oil paintings, and sculptures by world-renown artists working in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. These are exhibited in the eastern side of the house.
The first room on the first floor houses works of French Impressionism, including artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas, and the post-Impressionist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard are present in the room as well.
Next come Surrealist, Cubist, or German Expressionist artists, representatives of the avant-garde of the early twentieth century. Here we find the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, and Joan Miró. The following space is composed of drawings and watercolors by George Grosz, Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt, Sonia Delaunay, Balthus, and Lucian Freud, among others.
On the second floor, later American avant-garde movements appear, including works of Abstract Expressionism by Robert Rauschenberg and Willem de Kooning, as well as works by Francis Bacon and Antoni Tàpies. Some Latin American artists such as Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Joaquín Torres García, and Rufino Tamayo are also exhibited
The last international collection room contains sculptures by various artists, from Marx Ernst, to Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and Henry Laurens.
The 123 works by Botero belong to an artistic period that goes from the seventies to the end of the nineties, with the artist’s volumetric and monumental style completely consolidated. The collection presents the variety of themes that he has addressed throughout his career, such as the Latin American family in the works Una familia (A Family), 1989, Maternidad (Maternity), n.d., and Hombre, mujer y niño, (Man, Woman, and Child) n.d; Catholicism in paintings such as Caminando cerca al río (Walking Along the River), 1989, Madre superiora (Mother Superior), 1996, and the sculptures Adán (Adam), n.d., and Eva (Eve), n.d.; and violence in the paintings Guerrilla de Eliseo Velásquez (Eliseo Velásquez’s Guerrilla), 1988, and Manuel Marulanda "Tiro Fijo" (1999). Also present are works that relate to his family and personal life such as Hombre a caballo (Man on Horse), 1994, Retrato de mi madre (Portrait of my Mother), 1990, and Pedrito (1997), in addition to his usual still lifes and his tributes to great artists in the history of Western art, through the paintings Monalisa (Mona Lisa), 1978, El studio (The Study), 1990, and Maribárbola (1984).
Fernando Botero's works are exhibited on the opposite side of the house, the western side, arranged according to size and technique, which is why there are rooms for large format oil painting, drawing, watercolor, and pastel, a room with small format works, and a room with bronze and marble sculptures. Botero Museum is part of Banco de la República Cultural City Block and is thus connected to the Miguel Urrutia Art Museum and the Mint Museum.
Works by Fernando Botero in the collections of Banco de la República
|Mandolina sobre una silla (Mandolin on a Chair)||1957||EXHIBITED
Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Miguel Urrutia Art Museum (MAMU), Permanent Exhibition of the Art Collection, Classics, Experimentals, and Radicals
|Monalisa (Mona Lisa)||1978||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3380|
|Mano izquierda (Left Hand)||1975||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Sculpture||AP3347|
|Pareja bailando (Dancing Couple)||1987||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3218|
|Una familia (A Family)||1989||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3336|
|Caminando cerca al río (Walking Along the River)||1989||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3217|
|El estudio (The Studio)||1990||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3222|
|Masacre de Mejor Esquina (Mejor Esquina Massacre)||2000||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Painting||AP3388|
|(Sleeping Venus)||No date||EXHIBITED Bogotá, Bogotá Cultural Center, Botero Museum||Sculpture||AP3338|
- Alejandro Obregón
- Museo Botero
- Doris Salcedo
- Banco de la República’s collection of art
- Beatriz González
Banco de la República art collection
Explore the works of Fernando Botero en la Colección de Arte
- Opening Speech by Fernando Botero, November 1, 2000, Bogotá. https://banrepcultural.org/bogota/museo-botero/historia/discurso-inaugural-por-fernando-botero
- Arciniegas, G. (1979). Fernando Botero. Madrid, Edilerner Internacional.
- Botero, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas, 1976, text: Michel Lancelot. CABALLERO BONALD, JOSÉ MARÍA.
- Botero, La Corrida. (1989). Barcelona, Lerner y Lerner.
- Escallon, A,M., and Calderón, C. BOTERO. La Corrida. Bogotá, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, 1993.
- Fernando Botero. Pinturas, dibujos, esculturas, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1987. LASCAULT, GILBERT. Botero, la pintura. Barcelona, Lerner y Lerner, 1992.
- MCcabe, Cynthia Jaffee. Fernando Botero. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979. MEDINA, ALVARO. "Botero encuentra a Botero," published in Procesos del arte en Colombia. Bogotá, Colcultura, 1978.
- Panesso, F. (1975). Los intocables. Bogotá, Ediciones Alcaraván.
- Paquet, M. (1992). Botero, filosofía de la creación. Bélgica, Lanoo, Tielt, 1985, and Mallard Press.
- Ratcliff, C. (1980). Botero. New York, Abbeville Press.
- Rios, K. (2002). El Museo Botero. Accessed at: https://www.banrepcultural.org/bogota/museo-botero/historia
- Rubiano, Germán. (1975). "La figuración tradicionalista," published in Historia del arte colombiano. Barcelona, Salvat Editores.
- Sullivan, Edward. (1986). Botero. Sculpture. New York, Abbeville Press.
- Traba, M. (1963). Seis artistas contemporáneos colombianos. Bogotá, Antares.
- Traba, M. (1974). "Las dos líneas extremas de la pintura colombiana: Botero y Ramírez Villamizar," published in Historia abierta del arte colombiano. Cali, La Tertulia Museum of Modern Art.*
-  Interactive timeline of the life of Fernando Botero
-  Consult the list of materials available at the Luis Ángel Arango Library.
-  Read the review " Botero meets Botero ", published in the book " Processes of art in Colombia ".
-  Read the book " Botero Collection in the first person singular ".
-  Consult the book " Fernando Botero, painting as a world ".
-  Read the review " Botero's fan ", written by Hernando Valencia Goelkel.
-  Read the review " La corrida ", written by Darío Jaramillo Agudelo for the magazine Credencial Historia.
1.Research and text: María Clara Martínez Rivera and Mónica Piragauta Roldán, mediator of the museums and collections of the Banco de la República, for Banrepcultural.
2.Proofreading and editing: Inti Camila Romero Estrada and Diana Marcela Salas Solorzano, Public and Educational Services, Art and Other Collections Unit (UAOC).