Botero is one of the most popular artists alive today and is exhibited in countless institutions throughout the world. He gained international fame painting corpulent and comical figures who embody the sometimes whimsical tragedy of life. The dilation of his subjects gives them abstract, unreal, and grotesque dimensions that are studies in beauty and terror. Botero imbues his monumental figures with an overabundant sensuality that reveals a gluttony of human truth—from torture to greed, pleasure to despair, absurdity, impassivity, and more. Botero had his first solo exhibit at the early age of nineteen and, by twenty, had been awarded second prize at the National Salon in Bogota. He spent time traveling to study the work of the old masters—eventually reinterpreting classic paintings in his gargantuan style. His continuing attraction to the Colombia of his youth is reflected in paintings rooted in small-town Colombian life—middle-class family groups, heads of state, prelates, madonnas, military men, prostitutes, and opulent still-lifes with exotic fruit.This monograph presents a unique collection of 170 works including his most recent paintings published here for the first time. These include his most recent subject, the circus, as well as images from the prison of Abu Ghraib, a powerful artistic response to violence and injustice. The works are comprised of paintings, drawings and six monumental sculptures created by the artist in his own unique language, a language which is an extraordinary blend of Latin American tradition and European painting.
Rudy Chiappini, is Director of the Museum of the City of Lugano, Switzerland.