Fernando Botero, Colombian artist, born on April 19, 1932, is turning 90 years old, and to the surprise of many, he is still active as a painter. Botero began painting at the age of 15. His first individual exhibition was held in Bogotá at the age of 19, made up of watercolors, gouaches, inks, and oils. From then until now, his creative and exhibition activity has been profuse.
Around 1952 he traveled to Europe, where he studied art at the Academia de San Fernando, in Madrid, and at the San Marcos, in Florence, institutions in which he lasted a short time, which is why it can be said that his artistic training was practically self-taught. Botero in Europe cultivated himself by visiting museums and studying Renaissance and Baroque artists such as Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Andrea Mantegna, and Pedro Pablo Rubens. In the same way he did it in his travels through Mexico, where he became interested in the work of Rufino Tamayo, and in the United States, where he was attracted by the work of Pollock, Franz Kline and De Kooning.
After his period of training, influences, and experimentation, Botero managed to configure his own aesthetics and style, unique in its kind, called by some as “boterismo”. His work is based on an original interpretation of the figurative style, in which one of his most recurrent themes is the female figure, although he has worked on other themes such as still lifes (2), reinterpretations of classic pieces (1), portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, animals (3), religion, violence and politics, issues that he has dealt with in his painting, drawing and sculpture from the aesthetics of hyperbole, a product of the artist’s interest in volume, in the body treated visually as a pronounced, exaggerated volume, with an accentuated three-dimensionality in the plane of two dimensions, full of strength, exuberance and sensuality in all its figures -both pictorial and sculptural-. In fact, Botero has even said: “I am the painter of volume, not of fat women”.
Botero’s fame has grown in such a way that today he enjoys international recognition, being the most valued and represented living artist in all parts of the world.