Fernando Botero, art without limits

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Born in Medellín, in 1936, the painter of rotund figures, the sculptor of round silhouettes, died at the age of 91. He is undoubtedly the most universal Colombian artist, whose bronze sculptures are in the main cities of the world. His beginnings were as an illustrator, although before that he tried the art of bullfighting, until a bull invited him to continue down the path of art. At the age of 19 he already knew that he wanted to be an artist and presented his first exhibition; broad silhouettes were already beginning to appear in his work.

He published from a very young age in the newspaper El Colombiano. He understood art as pleasure, although he also knew how to reflect drama. He was filled with anger at the torture at Abu Ghraib and suffered the wounds left in Colombia by a long and bloody war. Self-taught, with what he earned from the sale of his drawings and the first prizes he went to Europe. There he learned about the work of Masaccio, Giotto and Piero della Francesca, who greatly influenced his work. “I began to identify with those artists, but at no time did I stop believing that the path one has is the true one,” he declared. His first big trip was to Europe. In Spain, with few resources, he entered the San Fernando school; He made drawings on the door of the Prado Museum to pay for his studies.

In 1956 he traveled to Mexico, where he was influenced by artists such as Rufino Tamayo. He contracted his first marriage with Gloria Zea, director of the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá, with whom he had three children: Fernando, Lina and Juan Carlos. In the 60s he was in New York, at the height of abstract expressionism and pop art, but he continued to defend his work with character. In the 1970s he traveled to Paris and in Europe he experienced the tragedy of the death of his son Pedrito, born from his second marriage, in a vehicle accident. The boy was four years old and the accident also damaged the painter's hand. Pedrito began to be the inspiration for his paintings, while he was coming out of a severe depression.

Among his creations from that time, Pedrito on horseback stands out, the work that Botero himself confessed was his favorite. He built a monument to peace in Medellín, which terrorists destroyed in an attack that left 20 dead and 100 injured. He blew up The Dove into pieces, but did not want to restore it as a testimony to the tragic violence. The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, after his death, declared: “Fernando Botero, the painter of our traditions and defects, the painter of our virtues, has died. The painter of our violence and peace. Of the dove rejected a thousand times and placed on its throne a thousand times. The success of his work is universal. It has been exhibited in cities such as Dubai, Beijing, Tokyo, Mexico, Berlin, Santo Domingo, Naples, Caracas, Rome, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Monte Carlo, Miami and Moscow.

Right now his work is exhibited in squares and avenues in more than thirty countries. He is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after authors of the century. He said it himself, “I am the most exposed painter in the world.”

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