One of Fernando Botero's sculpture in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
One of his works exhibited in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Photo: Alexandre Cerqueira usina3 — Pixabay.

Fernando Botero, Colombian painter and sculptor, passed away

The renowned artist, creator of iconic works, died in the Principality of Monaco at the age of 91.


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“Fernando Botero has died, the painter of our traditions and defects, the painter of our virtues. The painter of our violence and peace. Of the dove discarded a thousand times and placed on its throne a thousand times,” Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Lina Botero, daughter of the artist, was the one who announced to the media in her country that the Colombian painter and sculptor with the greatest global recognition died this Friday at the age of 91 after medical complications.

Liliana Molina, an expert on the artist's work, told CNN:

His work, full of bright colors, giant figures and very human works, makes viewers feel reflected in Botero's work.

About His Life

Botero was born in Medellín on Apr. 19, 1932, and, as CNN says, “he is the most universal Colombian after the writer Gabriel García Márquez.”

He is well known for his vast plastic work, which highlights large figures, or "fat ones,” as they were popularly called, that range from political criticism to satire.

Botero is recognized as one of the great Colombian artists, a member of the golden generation of other notable names, such as painters Alejandro Obregón and Jorge Elías Triana, with whom he shared the second prize in ‘Pintura del X Salón de Artistas Colombianos,’ with the oil painting ‘Contrapunto.’

The Colombian artist was married 3 times. The first, in 1955, with the cultural manager Gloria Zea, a marriage that left him three children: Fernando, Lina, and Juan Carlos. He divorced Zea in 1960.

In 1964 he married for the second time with Cecilia Zambrano.

His third marriage was in 1978, five years after settling in Paris with the Greek sculptor Sophie Vari, who also died this year.

About his Work

According to a biography shared by the Banco de la República of Colombia, when Botero finished his secondary studies, in 1951, he moved to Bogotá, where he had his first exhibition at the Leo Matiz gallery. There he presented watercolors, inks, oil paintings, among others.

The publication also points out that his figurative style went against the pop and abstract dominant in the 1960s, which is why Botero took a while to be appreciated.

"Botero's paintings are, above all, paintings of great beauty. The artist has chosen a traditional way of painting, but it is so transformed by his personal vision that it is unique and very original," adds the profile.

CNN highlights how Botero's work has a "sensual volumetry" that generated an aesthetic revolution, a style that he followed throughout his career, both in painting and sculpture, and that led him to capture different episodes of the Colombian reality, from beautiful traditions to important historical events that had a great impact on him.

"With the same curves and pastel colors, his canvases also denounced the violence that bled Colombia, including the death of drug trafficker Pablo Escobar," underscored Reuters.

One of his most relevant works of denunciation in the global context is the series of paintings about torture in the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war, a series of 80 paintings and drawings.

Botero was also the author of "La paloma de la paz" after the peace agreement reached between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2016, a work that has been involved in constant controversies due to political decisions.

Rest In Peace Maestro Botero. 


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