"In art, as long as you have ideas and think, you are bound to deform nature. Art is deformation."
“Hombre A Caballo”
“Hombre a Caballo” is a monumental sculpture located in one of the most important avenues in Bogotá, Colombia. It was created in 1998.
All art works have a history and style of its own. Something “new” is also important, because art history is not just the history of some themes, but you also have to take for account it's language and style. All public art is affected by its location. The cultural differences make new adjustments.
Having public art is very important because in some way art goes to the people (different types of audiences). It is found in many places every time. It is not like going to a museum or a gallery to see the art. Public art comes directly to you. For me, public art is any piece of art work that is made for people to touch, feel and/or communicate different ideas and perspectives. I really think Botero's sculptures are considered public art.
I have seen this sculpture. I love all of Botero's work. Knowing him personally makes me enjoy it even more. Every time I go to Colombia and see the sculpture, I just try to look at it in different perspectives, but for me, it is always perfect.
Line is one of the most important elements of art. Line is the trace that helps to define a form (outline). There are many varieties, they can be thick, curved, short and may have other forms. It also can be understood as the tendency of an artist, his line of work. Every artist or movement is characterized by a line or tendency in his work; it's way of being.
Life & Works
Fernando Botero is an artist who is always seeking excellence. He has a secret about aesthetics, saying that beauty is a personal image. Like Aristotle once said “All our knowledge comes from our own perceptions.” Botero's perceptions have particular references, in which subjective geometry impose rationalism. The themes in Fernando Botero's works are full of authenticity, developing his personal ideals whether it's in his paintings or sculptures.
He was born in 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, to a middle class family. Botero became interested in painting at an early age. As an adolescent, Botero saw in Medellin, the ceilings of chapels, altarpieces of churches, and their paintings of religious themes, all of which inspired him to be an artist.
Before turning twenty years old, Botero left Medellin. He moved to Bogotá in 1951, to become one of the most recognized artists of the world. He held his first one-man exhibition there at the Leo Matiz Gallery. The following year, he was awarded a Second Prize at the National Salon in Bogotá. With the money he earned from the Salon award and his exhibitions, Botero fulfilled his longtime desire to travel to Spain, France and Italy to study the work of the old masters. In Madrid, he visited El Prado Museum daily while studying at the San Fernando Academy. In Florence, he studied at the Academy of San Marcos and was profoundly influenced by the works of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and Andrea del Castagno.
Botero moved to New York in 1960 and the following year the Museum of Modern Art of New York acquired his painting Mona Lisa. In 1973 Botero left New York for Paris and began to produce sculptures, although he never gave up painting. Fernando Botero makes the first work (sculpture) with clay. That is where Botero manages the sense of the clay and discovers his creations. Once again, the artist manages to transform some “gigantic monsters” into a special harmony. Then, that model is made in bronze. They are non-animated beings that reflect some themes of art history. Some examples of these are: Adam and Eve, Virgin with a child (Raphael), and the cat. That makes them monumental sculptures. Botero's sculptures have traveled throughout the world. Wherever the sculptures are, they humanize the urban space and then become icons of the world. Botero's sculptures have their own life, a life that doesn't project a real image, but reflects an image of fantasy.
In the works of Fernando Botero, we can see the large creative capacity which is reflected. In each of his techniques as a painter, sculptor or drawer, he develops different goals, but all reflect harmony. The themes of his works are limited; he always comes back to them. Botero once said: “I have painted horses all my life, but all of them are different.” You always have a different way of seeing the same ideas, and that has repeated during all of art's history. Botero's images respond to what he has lived, for example, symbols of power such as men and women have been the protagonists of his personal history. The fruits and flowers are nature themes and landscapes are poetic elements.
A number of Botero's still lifes have particular resonance within a context of Colombia, often displaying Colombian meals, birthday tables or references to other particular occasions celebrated there. To many, the numerous works by Botero are criticized. The social engagement of Botero may be observed in his works in different ways. Botero grew up during a terrible period in Colombia's history. The 1940's in Colombia was a period called ''la violencia'', a time where thousands of people involved in politics died. Also, Botero is also aware of more contemporary events in Colombia, where government troops battle the forces of drug lords on a daily basis. Many cities and neighborhoods throughout Colombia have become battle zones. This terrible reality has been reflected in works throughout Botero's career.
As a painter, Fernando Botero is known universally. As a sculptor, important museums, art galleries and avenues all over the world have seen exhibitions of his monumental work. Since 1972, Botero has had various individual exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. In 1993, Botero exhibited some of his sculptures along the Champs Elysees, the first time a non-French artist had done so. The artist has also had an individual exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. He has exhibited his works on streets of Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and others.
“Boteresque” deformation is in some way modern. Botero has full control of his imagination and memory, allowing him to enlarge the diminutive and diminish the enormous, turning things to a fantastic idea of fiction.
Fernando Botero was awarded with the Honorary Degree as Doctor of Fine Arts on May 14, 1999, by the University of Miami. Today, the artist divides his time between Paris, Pietra Santa (Italy), New York, Colombia and Monte Carlo.
“What I do is a personal and intimate manifestation, that comes form my past, what I love, and what I have lived… I see it as a manifestation of my spirit.”