The self-proclaimed ‘the most Colombian of Colombian artists’, Fernando Botero is a name synonymous with his eccentric art. Many contest his artistic prowess, which may be due to the fact that the Colombian artist loves playing around with the human shape and sizes of objects. Many argue that it’s almost as if Botero is making fun of the human life form through his paintings and sculptures. Botero’s unique art style centres on showcasing the human face and body, and other objects in a rather voluptuous, voluminous form. It is quite out of this world, which is fitting as it suits his personality as well. It is genius case of an artist’s personality reflecting in his work.
Always having a larger than life personality, Botero was born on April 19, 1932 in Medellin, Columbia. Ever since he was young, Fernando Botero became fascinated by art – having been exposed to the beautiful paintings in churches and museums. With Botero comes a personality which isn’t shy of poking fun of political scenarios or making his opinions clear on certain subject matters. It is amply reflected in his work, which is also one of the reasons why he is regarded as Latin America’s most recognised and quoted artist alive today. His work can be found displayed in the most affluent places from the Champs-Elysees in Paris to Park Avenue in New York. His sculptures adorn areas in London, New York, Germany and Madrid where the general public can marvel at the artist’s strange style and his artistic fearlessness. Botera has even made fun of himself in a self-portrait he made in 1992; it was his signature style of a bloated face and tiny human body. His love for art took him from Spain to France and Italy in a bid to study the work of some old artists.
Despite the eccentric style, Botero’s work is well recognized and applauded. At the age of 24 he won the prestigious Salon Nacional de Artistas, and just recently he was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture by the International Sculpture Centre in USA. If this isn’t enough, one of his latest creations – the Dancers sculpture – was sold for $1.7 at Christie’s in New York. Botero also played around with other still life objects, even mundane items like fruits but he had to ability to make them look very vibrant and alive on his canvas. The famous Still Life with Fruits, a canvas painting he did in 2003 is regarded as a masterpiece. With the set of admirers also come those who never considered Botero’s work art. A fact that never bothered Botero, if anything he deeply relished it and it only prompted him to work more and make his style more over the top. Never too shy of an opinion, Botero’s most controversial and famous painting was titled Abu Ghraib. As the name suggests it was a direct result of the widespread news of the atrocities happening with the prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. Rather than release a public statement or outcry, Botero painted a simple oil and paint canvas depicting a prisoner in the cell – such a simple yet beautiful portrait served as a permanent accusation fired by Botero towards the authorities running the prison. Fernando Botero has never tried to justify his art style; he simply believes that every artist has their own unique style which speaks to them somehow.