The Colombian Hero


Mandolin on a chair, 1957

Of course.. How can a blog about Colombia exist without mentioning Botero?!

He’s the hero of the country because he’s pretty much the only Colombian artist that is known internationally. But his style didn’t exactly make contribution to the stylistic development the history of art.. His paintings don’t even have proper perspectives and the scales are skewed. Nor is his subject matter particularly sweeping or historically colossal.. He paints subject matters that most artists would have experimented with: idyllic landscapes, still lives, portraits, women, music..
The one thing that might have been the reason for his success is that Botero has established a style of his own. His signature style. His arts stand out as comical and cartoon-like, the result of making his objects and figures peculiarly fat. Everything he renders is fat. The fat table. The fat apple. The fat Virgin Mary. The fat clock. The fat house..
Sunflowers, 1959

Colombians have asked me for my view about the painter, since I studied History of Art I must have a ‘well-informed’ opinion.. No, I don’t.. Nor do I have any particular affection for his art.. Perhaps the value of his art is in the happiness his art conveys? The small curl of the corners of the lips of his figures, whether it’s a bird or a cat, always makes you smile. His neutral and pastel palettes relax the viewers. The fat guitar gives you such an innocent impression that is so different from that of Braque and Picasso.. Even the sunflowers that pay tribute to Van Gogh look happy. Botero paints in the same way the people in this nation live. Carefree, happy and forward looking.

His best stuff though, is really his sculpture. It’s in the 3-D medium that his voluminous style really shines through. You just can’t help but love the naïve-looking birds and horses that stare right at you! Even baby Jesus becomes adorable.
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