Fernando Botero

Perhaps the most famous contemporary Latin American artist alive, Fernando Botero was born in Medellin in 1932. After a stint at a matador school, Botero decided art was his true calling and in 1948, aged 16, he had his first exhibition. In the early 1950s Botero travelled through Europe, studying art at Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, followed by a spell in Paris spent absorbing the works of the Old Masters at the Louvre. He continued to Florence, where he studied the frescoes of the Italian Renaissance, discovering techniques from a bygone era. Today, he lives and works between New York, Paris and Tuscany.


Botero is best known for his distinctive style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale which reflects the artist's constant search to give volume presence and reality. His oeuvre ranges in subject matter, including daily life in Colombia, art historical references like the Mona Lisa, and abuses of power- all unified his exaggeratedly rotund figures.


He has created monumental sculptures for public spaces in many major cities, including New York (Park Avenue), Paris (Champs-Élysées), Rome and Monte Carlo. His works are found in many important private and public collections, such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.); Ho-am Museum (Seoul); Israel Museum (Jerusalem); Kunsthalle Nuremberg (Nuremberg); Museo d'Arte Moderna del Vaticano (Rome); Museum Moderne Kunst (Vienna); Neue Pinakothek (Munich); Staatgalerie Moderne Kunst (Munich); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); The Museum of Modern Art (New York); and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York).

Photo © Ruben Afanador