“Boteromanía”: Celebrations in Colombia, Italy and on Google for the 90th anniversary of the birth of painter and sculptor Fernando Botero

A patriarch of Latin American art and one of the most recognized for his work celebrates his ninetieth birthday. Almost as famous as the Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel García Márquez, the singer Shakira and the drug trafficker Pablo Escobar (who had the sculpture destroyed Bird in Medellin), Colombian Fernando Botero (Medellín, April 19, 1932) will be celebrated in his native country, in Italy, and even by this great digital continent that is Google, which will make interactive proposals and a online gallery to learn more about the work and story of one of the world’s most admired living artists.

Google clings to “boteromania”; On his art and culture platform, he shares more than a hundred digitized images and online collections of the Colombian painter and sculptor.

Although Google doesn’t say so, part of Botero’s international fame must be attributed to Argentinian-Colombian writer and art critic Marta Traba, who revolutionized Colombia’s burgeoning art scene with her presence on television, in the press and the university. According to Traba, Botero’s work “will never be an imposture, because born of the most sincere efforts to exist as its own creation and it will define ever firmer values, because tenacity, combined with talent, can never end in a vacuum”. Although some artists and critics – including Traba herself in the early 1980s, before her untimely death – questioned this 1958 assertion, a new artistic style had already been born: “boterismo”.

Argentine-Colombian art critic and writer Marta Traba was one of the first to highlight the importance of Botero's work
Argentine-Colombian art critic and writer Marta Traba was one of the first to highlight the importance of Botero’s workElisa Cabot, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As Colombia’s public museums open their doors to visitors to learn about Botero’s legacy, Google is embracing ‘boteromania’ and paying tribute to the artist who paints, draws and sculpts voluminous human and animal figures with over a hundred scanned images and online collections to view in detail and learn the stories behind his most famous paintings. computer in artsandculture.google.com or from the mobile phone, with Android or iOS, it will be possible to discover the painter’s techniques and his motivations when he painted portraits of Latin American and Spanish characters, still lifes, musical instruments, voluptuous women and scenes of political violence.

Botero recreated works by artists such as Da Vinci, Mantegna and Picasso;  Currently he paints watercolors at his home in the Italian town of Pietrasanta
Botero recreated works by artists such as Da Vinci, Mantegna and Picasso; Currently he paints watercolors at his home in the Italian town of Pietrasanta

“Art must give pleasure -says Botero in dialogue with LA NACION, on the occasion of an exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 2006-. Most of the masterpieces of painting were made on rather pleasant subjects.There were few artists dedicated to dramatic subjects, such as Matthias Grünewald and Hans Baldung.Sometimes dramatic themes are a parenthesis in an artist’s output, as happened with Goya. So I think it is possible to combine, to go from a dramatic theme to a friendly theme, as long as the artist is faithful to his style and as long as his work gives pleasure aesthetic”. True to his motto, the Colombian has created “kind”, sensual and humorous works and others that criticize and satirize political power, such as the emblematic presidential family (Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York), Official portrait of the military junta Yes War.

One of Fernando Botero's family portraits:
One of Fernando Botero’s family portraits: “Joaquín J. Aberbach and his family”

Soon there will be no city in the world without a sculpture by the Colombian artist. There are bronze and marble works by Botero in the squares and streets of Bogotá, Mexico City, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Paris, New York, Lisbon, London, Jerusalem, Monte Carlo, Santiago and, in Buenos Aires, a torso male nude is on display. in Thays Park. His paintings are exhibited in international museums, from Caracas to Moscow, and from Hiroshima to Lausanne. In Medellín, his hometown, twenty-three of his sculptures are exhibited in a square that bears his name. Botero donated hundreds of works to public museums in Colombia.

Sculpture by Fernando Botero, on the Rambla del Raval, in Barcelona
Sculpture by Fernando Botero, on the Rambla del Raval, in BarcelonaJavier Sinay

The artist, who moved to Paris in the 1979s, planned to celebrate with his family in the Italian town of Pietrasanta – where he was designated an illustrious citizen, one of his many houses is located and in the squares where his sculptures are located- and that he will continue to work on a series of watercolours. In Colombia, the birthday celebrations of the artist who recreated paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello, Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez and Pablo Picasso, began a few weeks ago. This Tuesday, at the Museo de Antioquia and the Museo Botero in Bogotá, admission will be free for those who wish to visit their collection, summoned by the motto “Let’s make your birthday as monumental as your work”. The Universidad del Rosario will offer an academic program and, on social networks, a “shot” will be promoted with the hashtag #Botero90years.

Google's arts and culture platform snuck into Fernando Botero's 90th birthday celebrations
Google’s arts and culture platform snuck into Fernando Botero’s 90th birthday celebrations

Botero was married to cultural manager Gloria Zea, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá for over forty years, and with whom he had three children: Fernando, Lina and Juan Carlos. The first of them, Fernando Botero Zea – Minister of Defense under the presidency of Ernesto Samper, currently based in Mexico – indicated that the tributes to his father represent “the recognition of a artistic career of almost 75 years in which he worked tirelessly to reach the highest possible level in the field of art”. In statements on the radio, his daughter claimed that the artist “feels that the country returned in love and affection everything it tried to do for Colombia”. In 1964 Botero married Cecilia Zambrano, with whom he had a son, Pedro, who died in 1974 in a car accident in Spain while the family was on vacation (the artist made several drawings, paintings and sculptures in memory of Peter). . Botero and Zambrano separated in 1975. In 1978 he married Greek artist Sophia Vari.

The Colombian’s work is exhibited in public and private museums around the world, and collectors pay millions of dollars for his paintings and sculptures. Without going any further, on March 11, with the sculpture man on horseback reached a new record in a Latin American art auction at Christie’s in New York when it sold for $4.3 million. In his paintings, the artist monumentalized characters typical of Latin American culture and provided them with “an apotheosis of color, absurdity and form” (again, Marta Traba). While living in New York in the 1960s, he was influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, but would soon return to the style that made him popular and gave him his name.

Long live Colombia!
Long live Colombia! “July 20”, painting by Fernando Botero

The art and culture platform of Google will present an online collection of works by the artist, such as mona-lisahis reconstruction of Mona Lisa by DaVinci. Thanks to the Art Projector tool, you can see some of your images in augmented reality. Two of his works July 20 Yes guitar lesson, which are in the National Museum of Colombia, will be available with Art Zoom, which facilitates a magnified perspective thanks to the high definition zoom. Additionally, it will provide fun facts about the artist and other irrelevant ones like the fact that fellow Botero singer J Balvin used Art Zoom and explained the first of the aforementioned works in a video. On July 20, Independence Day is celebrated in Colombia; Perhaps in the not too distant future, Fernando Botero’s birthday will become a national date in his native country.

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