A now-historic photograph taken by Hernán Díaz in 1960 sought to showcase Colombian painters making their mark on the contemporary art scene. Enrique Grau. Guillermo Wiedemann. Alejandro Obregón. Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar. Armando Villegas. And a young Fernando Botero.
Botero, who had yet to turn 30 or find the signature style of exaggerated, portly subjects that would define his work, is the only one smiling. On that day in Bogotá, perhaps he knew what still laid ahead in an artistic career that would elevate him beyond not just these peers — but any Colombian artist before or since.
The renowned Colombian painter and sculptor died this week in Monaco at the age of 91.
Lina Botero, his daughter, confirmed her father’s death to Caracol Radio, saying that he had been struggling with pneumonia in the final week of his life. “He had an extraordinary life and he left at the right time,” she told the outlet.
Photo: Fernando Botero visits Museo de Antioquia in Medellín in 2016. (Photo credit: Museo de Antioquia)
Botero’s death is an event of such magnitude that the government called for three days of national mourning, and many of the nation’s highest-profile figures have mourned his death and paid tribute to his grand legacy.
“Fernando Botero has died, the painter of our traditions and defects, the painter of our virtues,” wrote President Gustavo Petro. “The painter of our violence and peace. Of the dove a thousand times discarded and a thousand times placed on his throne.”
“A great man has passed away, he gave a good name to the country, he exalted culture. Thank you Maestro Botero,” wrote former President Alvaro Uribe.
“We deeply regret the departure of Fernando Botero, one of the greatest artists of Colombia and the world. Always generous with his country, a great friend, and a passionate builder of peace. Our most sincere condolences to his entire family,” posted former President Juan Manuel Santos.
Culturally and politically, Botero’s transcendent voice left indelible social impact by capturing and commenting upon historical events and the violent history of Colombia.
Some of his most-celebrated works show Pablo Escobar with gunshots through his body on the rooftop where he died, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) founder Tirofijo, and the Dove of Peace that he donated to the state after the historic peace agreement to end the half-century of conflict between government and FARC in 2016.
Beyond his impact within Colombia, Botero is regarded as not only the most important Colombian artist but also the most commercially successful. His unmistakable style has moved people all across the globe and led to his sculptures becoming permanent fixtures in cities from Barcelona and London to Jerusalem and Singapore.
Many of his works have been sold for millions of dollars, including his 11-foot-tall bronze sculpture “Man on a Horse” and 7-foot sculpture “Mother and Child,” which each fetched $4.3 million USD at Christie’s auctions in 2016 and 2022, respectively.
As the nation continues to commemorate his life and work, Juan David Correa, Colombian minister of culture, revealed that the ministry has been working with the artist’s relatives to coordinate upcoming tributes to Colombia’s nation’s greatest artist.
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Original Source: Finance Colombia
Categories: Public Sector & Education, Art, Fernando Botero, medellin