Fernando Botero


Fernando Botero - portrait made during his sta...

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Fernando Botero 

Fernando,

painter of

opulence,

truculence,

poverty—

spokes-artist of

America, South

of us.

Religion,

politics,

earthquakes,

terror.

No hidden

meaning,

you say.

But to me,

layer-upon-

layers of

questions

without

answers

swim around

in my head,

collide with

my comfort,

urge me to

reconsider

the definition

of sin.

In June, 2010, the Nevada Museum of Art‘s feature exhibition was the art of South American artist Fernando Botero. Botero is a contemporary artist. Although he no longer resides in the country of his birth, his art deals almost exclusively with themes that resonate with Colombia. He studied abroad and was heavily influenced by a number of the great masters whose work he often emulated. To the observer, themes of disaster, terror, inequality, corruption and oppression seem apparent, although he denies that the purpose of his work political activism. This was a fun exhibit to show to children who were fascinated with his exaggerated style that borders on Rococo. Botero was a friend of  Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude) and their works are most reflective of one another’s.

Originally posted in 2010–Reposted for my prompt over at dVerse Poet’s Pub–stop by, join us and have some fun.

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43 thoughts on “Fernando Botero

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Many layers to this work. I love the roundedness of the firgures and the colors. They definitely remind of South America and he puts me in mind of some old European works where children were children by the size of their bodies but their faces where old, which very much reflected the way they were seen in those times.

    A lovely share, Victoria. Thank you!

    Like

  2. I think the amazing thing is that his characters are so blank. Could he not do expressions or was he allowing us to project our feelings onto his creations?

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  3. Shawna says:

    I love your closing, and the fact that the thin shape of your poem illustrates your resistance to his style, which proves his point, intended or not, that we are uncomfortable with largesse … and negligent mothers back-turned to children grabbing irons.

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  4. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Victoria, you have brought Botero back
    to the masses, where he belongs. At first
    glance the paintings seem laced with
    levity, but a second look reveals the sadness,
    a third the humanity. The work is not ugly,
    rather it is stylized, a perfectly unique vision
    of the world, like seeing an image of
    Quasi modo on the cover of People,
    with the caption “Sexiest Bell Ringer
    in the World”.

    Like

    • Thank you, Glenn. While there is an aspect of humor to Botero’s work I agree that there is a lot of depth, but then I’ve had the advantage of learning about the man behind the art (while by no means an expert). My belief is that people take what they like from art and that’s okay. And if they don’t like it, that’s okay, too. There are artist’s that leave me untouched. With Botero is seems to be a love or leave it response. I glad you took the challenge. Stylized is the perfect descriptor, by the way. Wish I’d thought of it in writing the prompt. Quasi modo. Who knew?

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  5. ManicDdaily says:

    Love the poem, the end especially is really wonderful and it actually makes me re-think my feelings about Botero. I’ve always liked him; I’m not sure that he’s one of my favorite painters as I almost think of him as more of a caricaturist, though I always really enjoy his work–it’s interesting and fun, and the people have a look that is very Colombian, though puffed up, and very human too, and something people stand back from, but also relate to. I love Marquez, of course. He’s just wonderful. But your poem makes me look again at Botero too.

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  6. viv blake says:

    Reading your process notes illuminates a lot, but I still am unable to enjoy all those miserable children and their suffering faces. Your poem makes me ashamed of the superficiality of my view of the pictures.

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  7. claudia says:

    questions…collide with my comfort, urge me to reconsider the definition of sin…and of much more… victoria i have to admit..when i browsed through his work first i thought…goodness..this is really ugly…but then i discovered more in it, looked deeper and it fascinated me… cause it takes us out of our comfort zone, just as you say in your poem. thanks for the wonderful prompt..enjoyed meeting him in so many different ways..

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  8. Layers upon layers…that can be so many things. Love that your poem opens my own imagination to fill in blanks. I like the information you shared on Botero. Nice to know more about the artist that sparks our words.

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  9. brian says:

    mmm…really good…i think all good artist or at least the ones that appeal to me ask those questions in their works and yes as i flipped through them i saw that much in his work…he did have a social concious in more ways than one….and perhaps his capture of the fullness of life in the people was as much one as any…

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  10. Thanks for the confession, V, it’s said to be good for the soul! 🙂 If you remember, send me a line or two. Thanks much!

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    • IF I remember…not one of my strong points anymore. (Pardon the cliche, but aging ain’t for sissies). But now you’ve got my curiosity going. Will have to read some more.

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    • Charles, I think Brian’s comment lit a fire in my memory. My understanding of the “sins” I grew up has evolved, has become more aligned with those that Botero subtly represents in his art: oppression, using others…etc. I think that’s what I was referencing.

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  11. Irene says:

    Victoria, I like the “layers upon layers” of meaning and your commentary. Is the style Rococo? It’s definitely riveting.

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  12. Nicely stated. I must say that I did not expect the ending statement. I like the suggestion, but I am left wanting a fragment of how the paintings help you understand sin.

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    • Here’s my confession. I wrote this a while back, after learning about the artist. I have no idea where the sin line came from. Probably something in my notes, but I’m not at home and don’t have access to them. :0)

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  13. Heaven says:

    I do like that he paints without restraint nor ulterior motives but then his strokes and colors captures his thoughts and perspective of life in a deeper way.

    Thanks for the wonderful prompt.

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  14. hedgewitch says:

    Clever and very nice flow cascading down the page as it does. Bet these were impressive to see up close. In that second picture, it totally weirds me out that the little boy has the face of a middle aged, petulant man. I know there’s something going on there besides representational art. Great prompt today, Victoria.

    Like

  15. Christine says:

    interesting how the faces all appear to be the same

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  16. I love your interpretation of this. I agree on how his colours are all so vivid, like life. I guess his characters are that way too.
    Lovely.

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  17. Mary says:

    I do think his art would appeal to children (though steering clear of the nudes), as it is bright and his characters are interesting; and I think children would laugh. I do think there MUST be a lot of hidden meaning beneath all those layers of flesh. And after looking at a lot of his work, no one looks especially happy. I wonder why (for both)…and don’t the answer. But it doesn’t matter really, as this was an interesting prompt, Victoria. Thank you.

    Like

  18. zongrik says:

    i like the pun in layers upon layers!!

    Like

  19. Jingle says:

    the art is amazing..

    Like

  20. Nanka says:

    Well said and an artist I had not heard of before made an interesting read too.

    Like

  21. Yes indeed. Well done. Thank you for this. And how would you redefine???

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    • Well, that’s a work in progress. Right now I would say any choice that keeps me from growing spiritually. To put it in Kabbalistic terms…that keeps me from completing my journey on the tree of life.

      Like

  22. trisha says:

    urge me to

    reconsider

    the definition

    of sin.

    just adored these lines victoria, i so many times try to do it.

    Like

  23. Last year we attended an exhibit with parts of his work as well as that of Jean Michel Basquiat, I totally enjoyed Botero…the colors…so much that of the romantic era…and the size of the models and etceteras…
    nice rendition!
    http://lynnaima.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Basquiat…for me, his art is a challenge. Guess I need to read up on it better. We’ve had a few Basquiat’s and I’ve avoided them, although the kids seem to gravitate toward them. It’s a good way to channel their creative energy into art and away from graffiti.

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      • Basquiat started with graffiti art. His world was very dark filled with rage and he expressed that in his work. He was a lost child/man crying through his work. It is pure madness why the genius in his paintings 🙂 Young kids would like it because it tends to be all over the place, eccentric, eclectic and bold 🙂
        But of course not everyone will like the same type of art…

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      • Thanks, Lynnaima. It makes me want to read more about him.

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  24. mairmusic says:

    Great tribute– I love his art!

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  25. souldipper says:

    This fascinates me a great deal…love learning about artists. His characters are certainly unique – what a Madonna with Child. Many thanks.

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  26. Layers of unanswered questions in mind colliding with comfort is a universal phenomenon.

    Writers’ are supposed to solve some of this dillema of the readers by guiding the reader by wisdom of their experience and art of writing.

    Nice empathy with the confusion in everybody’s mind.

    Very well said in beautiful words.

    By the way I don’t drink before surgery, not more then 4-5 times a month and have never drunk more then 120 ml at one sitting, but I enjoy posing drunk without drinking in my light mood.

    Thanks for visit to the site and nice reminder.

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  27. I can see the Botero-Garcia Marquez connection. Thank you so much for turning me on to the art of Botero!

    I’ve been steeped in Neruda and Lorca, dual translations, both. Would love to re-read “Solitude” with a double translation as well. I read the poetry aloud in Spanish first, then try to pick out the words I remember, then succumb to the (usually lacking) English version.

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  28. timkeen40 says:

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Keep the words flowing.

    Like

  29. Bill Sigler says:

    Who says poems can’t be educational? It’s great learning about a new painter (for me), and your poem stays clean, a nice blend of analysis and feeling.

    Like

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