Fernando Botero: 10 things to know | Christie's

Botero was born in 1932.

in Medellín, Colombia. Located in a valley of the Andes mountain range, Medellín was at that time a relatively small and isolated city. His father, David, was a traveling salesman who died suddenly at the age of 40, leaving a four-year-old Botero, his two brothers and his mother, who worked as a seamstress, destitute.

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  • He considers himself to be self-taught

At the age of 20, after winning second prize in Bogotá's National Salon of Artists, Botero booked his passage on a boat to Europe, traveling with a group of fellow artists. During a year in Madrid he spent his days copying the Prado's Old Masters. He then moved to Paris to study the Masters of the Italian Renaissance. This was a revelatory period for the artist, who had previously only seen European art through reproduction. While he was enrolled in art schools for periods during these early years, he considers himself to be primarily self-taught.

  • He did not paint.
  • fat 'people. He paints volume

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  • He has collected - and also donated - of art Between 1990 and 2000 Botero donated more than 300 works, both his own and those by 19th and 20th-century European Masters, to the Museum of Antioquia in Medellín, as well as to the Banco de la República in Bogotá. The latter collection became the basis for what is now the Botero Museum.

    In 1994 Botero was the target of a failed kidnapping, and in 1995 a terrorist group placed a bomb underneath his sculpture Bird (Bird), which he had donated to the city of Medellín. The attack, which took place during a music festival, killed 23 people and injured 200 more. Botero's response was to donate La Paloma de la Paz (The Dove of Peace) to Medellín, the sculpture which is placed alongside the mangled remains of the earlier work.

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    • His work can be politically charged

    Although Botero has maintained that 'art should be an oasis , a place of refuge from the hardness of life ', his work is at times stridently political. Beginning in the 1990s, I have painted a series focusing on Colombia's drug-related violence. One painting, Death of Pablo Escobar , depicts the Colombian drug baron being gunned down by the police. Explaining his response to his country's drug violence in 2000, Botero stated, "The Colombian drama is so out of proportion that today you can not ignore the violence, the thousands of displaced and dead, the processions of coffins. Against all my principles I had to paint [the violence]. 'Later, I produced his Abu Ghraib series, focusing on reports of the torture of Iraqi prisoners.