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Plaza Botero, Medellin, Colombia © Young Shananhan / Flickr
Plaza Botero, Medellin, Colombia © Young Shananhan / Flickr
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An Introduction to Fernando Botero in 5 Artworks

Picture of Anny Wooldridge
Updated: 30 April 2017
Fernando Botero was born in 1932 in the Colombian city of Medellin; he is one of Colombia’s and Latin America’s most renowned painters and sculptors. His work is unique and labeled “Boterismo”: he is recognized for creating people and figures as heavy. His works are often political or humorous. Botero’s artwork and sculptures can be found all over the world.

Mona Lisa Monalisa

Botero’s interpretation and parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was his breakthrough piece and caught the attention of many people around the world. This painting is currently being displayed in the Botero Museum in Bogota.

Adam and Eve

Botero’s interpretation of the Bible’s Adam and Eve is them standing tall, big and broad instead of slender. The first of Botero’s interpretations was a painting of them in the Garden of Eden; he then went on to create sculptures which are now being displayed in New York City’s Time Warner Center and at the Hotel Michael in Singapore.

Death of Pablo Escobar

The “Death of Pablo Escobar” painting is one of Botero’s most famous political pieces. Botero’s interpretation of the demise of the famous drug baron is displayed in the Museo de Antioquia and shows Escobar fleeing to the tiny roofs of the small town with bullets raining down on him.

Bird of Peace

Botero has produced a large number of sculptures and paintings depicting obese animals: birds, horses, cats and dogs. One of the most famous is the “Bird of Peace” or “Pajaro de Paz.” This bird was created to symbolize peace and sculptures of this bird are currently on display in the Botero Museum, Singapore and in the Plaza Botero in Medellin. The bird sculpture has been the subject of a number of news stories, including in 1995 when a guerrilla group blew up the sculpture in the Plaza Botero in Medellin. Instead of replacing the statue, Botero created an identical one and placed it next to the original to reinforce the idea that the city will not be broken by terrorists. Botero also presented the Colombian president with a small version of the “Bird of Peace” at the signing of Colombia’s Peace Agreement in 2016.

“Ballet Dancer at the Bar”

This interpretation of a ballerina at a bar by Botero is somewhat controversial, as ballet dancers are known for their grace and beauty. Botero has painted this dancer as plump and she is standing on pointe even though she is of a larger build. Many people believe this ballerina is as talented as any other ballerina. This painting can be found at the Botero Museum in Bogotá.

Many of Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures can be found all around the world: Botero is very popular in Asia as well as Latin America. Bogota houses many of Botero’s paintings in the Botero Musuem located in the La Candelaria neighborhood. 

Sculptures can be found in Cartagena and Medellin. Medellin is home to the Botero Plaza, where there is a large collection of over 25 sculptures surrounded by beautiful, tranquil gardens outside the Museum of Antioquia, which also houses a number of Botero’s paintings.

Botero Museum, Calle 11 #4-99, Bogota, Colombia, +57 1 343 1316

Plaza Botero, Carabobo, Medellin, Colombia

Museo de Antioquia, Calle 52 #52-43, Medellin, Colombia, +57 4 251 3636