The Colombian painter, draftsman and sculptor Fernando Botero, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, This Tuesday he will celebrate 90 years of life surrounded by his family in the Italian town of Pietrasanta and doing what he likes most at the moment: painting watercolors.
The celebrations for the birthday of Botero, the artist of the voluminous figures, began several weeks ago in Colombia and abroad because the Master, as they call him inside and outside the artistic field, is in the fullness of his work and with “the desire to continue working”.
Regarding the tributes, one of his sons, Fernando Botero Zea, who lives in Mexico, told Efe that they represent “the recognition of an artistic career of almost 75 years in which he has worked tirelessly to reach the highest possible level in the field of art”.
The teacher Fernando Botero Angulo, the second of the three children of the marriage of David Botero Mejía and Flora Angulo Jaramillo, He came into the world on April 19, 1932, in Medellín, capital of the department of Antioquia, in northwestern Colombia..
“He is very happy with the celebrations that are going to be held for him in Medellin and in other cities around the world. He is very honored with the affection and admiration of so many people around the world and very pleased to reach 90 years of age with so much recognition.” , notes Botero Zea, who will be with his brothers Lina and Juan Carlos, celebrating his father’s birthday.
He explains that the artist takes care not to get covid-19, that is why he has not been able to see him as often as he would have liked and that his contact has been by telephone.
Botero’s work (painting, sculpture and drawings) is so extensive that several books would be needed to cover it, and his works, acclaimed andIn exhibitions around the world, they are widely appreciated by collectors who pay millions of dollars for them.
On March 11, for example, his sculpture “Man on Horseback” was sold at an auction of Latin American art at Christie’s in New York for 4.3 million dollars, a record price for a work by the artist.
A student of Botero’s work in Colombia is the art historian and independent curator Christian Padilla, who became familiar with the Master’s brushstrokes when developing his degree work.
Beyond the recognition for his voluminous figures, the same line that he followed with his sculptures, Padilla highlights that the work of the most important Colombian artist is accepted and admired in all parts of the world.
Padilla assured Efe that Botero’s contribution to Latin American art is varied and highlights the themes he addresses, as the “monumentality of the mestizo man, of the indigenous man” that the artist has “taken to its ultimate consequences”.
“Botero, in this sense, has the importance of continuing with some ideas that arose from a political aspect, a cultural aspect, a nationalist idea of defining oneself, of identifying oneself and of generating differences between what was the Western European man and the man American”, explains the curator.
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And he adds: “Botero reaches its maximum consequences when he monumentalizes the characters taking elements that are typical of Mexican art, but that also assumes them, for example, from pre-Hispanic art or popular art”.
Another aspect highlighted by Padilla, who gave the Botero Chair this year at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, in Monterrey (Mexico), is that the themes of the Master’s work “they have always been focused on Latin American life and therefore their work also assumes aspects that are very common to our countries”.
“In the 1960s, Botero is already making some very critical and very sharp comments against dictatorships (…), that’s why some images that seem simply humorous and joyful —such as the ‘Presidential Family’— really become in a way of ridiculing power in Latin America,” the expert points out.
Botero has not only stood out for his artistic work, but also for his donations to museums and other institutions in Colombia and other countries.
His first donation was for the Museo de Antioquia, to which he gave seven oil paintings, a pastel and two watercolors and has continued to do so with other institutions.
One of the most important was made in 1998 by donating to the Banco de la República de Colombia 123 works of his authorship and 87 of international artists, with which the Botero Museum was formed, which is visited annually by thousands of people in Bogotá.
“I am absolutely convinced that even if we unite all the efforts of the Colombian governments during the 20th century, they are not equal to what Botero has done for culture in his country in decades,” Padilla stresses.
In that sense, remember that 23 sculptures by Botero are exhibited in “La Plaza Botero” in Medellín, works that have contributed to improving public space and the relationship between people and art.
Some of Botero’s most outstanding paintings are “Ecce Homo”, “Head of Christ”, “Mona Lisa at 12 years old”, “La Colombiana”, “Country Concert”, “Musicians Collection”, “Woman in front of the mirror “, “The letter”, “Celestina”, “The night” and “Walking down the hill”.
Among the most outstanding sculptures are “The Hand”, “Torso”, “The Bird”, “The Lady”, “The Asquadra Ballerina”, “The Roman Soldier”, “Cat Collection”, “The Couple”, “Motherhood”, “The Horse” and “The Guitar”.