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Discovering Botero in a retrospective in Rome


The Colombian artist Botero in a wisely displayed retrospective: a cosmopolitan artist attached to his Latin American roots

For art lovers, the appointment with the exhibition of paintings and sculptures of Fernando Botero in the Complesso del Vittoriano (Rome, Italy), is an unmissable one for a series of reason.

In fact, this exhibition is the first great retrospective dedicated to the artist in Italy, country particularly significant for the biographical and artistical maturation of Botero.


Furthermore, this exhibition, in Rome from the 5th May to the 27th August 2017, coincide with the 85th birthday of the artist, who has directly collaborated with the curator Rudy Chiappini for its preparation.

The exhibition displays more than 50 works by Botero, both sculptures and paintings, and offer the possibility to art expert to deepen their interest in this artist but also to curious people who want to enter the mysterious world of this eccentric man.

In fact, Fernando Botero, is now one of the most important and controversial artist in the world, and the art critics still debate around the effective significance of his art.

So, to visit this exhibition means to enter a new world, rich in fantasy and dreamlike components: the world of Botero, who, thanks to his eclectism, mix pre-Colombian tradition with Latin American baroque with the classical Italian art.

The visit of this exhibition is for everybody, regardless the personal artistic tastes of the public, an enriching experience, being a sort of journey in the mind of an absolute genius. Art critics have tried to outline its style, labelling it differently. However, it seems that Botero’s style is so peculiar that it avoids any classification.

In synthesis, his poetic can be defined as derived (as he many times declared) from an inner need of an endlessly appeased and this tension is reflected in a creative study on colour. And the colour of his figures has outline, without shadows.

The paintings and sculptures of Botero are probably in the common imaginary of everyone, most of all in the form of the dilatated figures taken from the masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance art. And this unnaturally dilated figures have not, as Botero declared, a satirical or irreverent attitude towards tradition; they have not the finality of ridicule it.


Actually, Botero’s knowledge of classical Italian art is profound and his artistic culture very refined. This means that the utilization of the classical Italian painting (such as the ones of Paolo Uccello), derives, again, from an inner need, a need to engage with tradition to modify it and to create something new.

Surely mysterious as this may seem, Botero’s poetic has bewitched millions of people with its indisputable uniqueness, its eccentricity, its cultivated engagement with tradition.

Furthermore, Botero is a double-edged artist: born in Medellin (Colombia), he has always brought in his heart the “Latin American spirit”, being, at the same time, a very cosmopolitan artist.

Among his most remarkable journey, in 1952 he went to Madrid, where he knows Titian and Goya. Then, he went in Paris, when he saw the works of the French avant-garde. Finally, he went in Italy, where he finally studied the masters Giotto and Andrea Mantegna, fundamental for his own later art.

Later, he will be in Mexico, New York, and he will achieve important acknowledgements, and his works of arts will be displayed in exhibitions all over the world.

A dynamitic personality, cosmopolitan but linked to his local reality, it is as if Botero always considered his Latin American roots as a point of starting and of arriving, a comet towards which to look.

His mastering of technique is magisterial but we cannot say that it is end to himself because it delivers emotions, thoughts, profound meaning on creating a rich mythology in which converge past and present, official and folkloristic culture, in a perfect mix of colours.

Going to this exhibition is an experience of high cultural value, and an occasion to understand one of the most debated contemporary artists, but also to rediscover their own roots.

vito antonio sanges