Fernando Botero not just another chubby face By Laura Huertero, Fairmont High School [email_address]
Botero’s Beginnings <ul><li>In 1932, Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia, a land of great beauty and strife. </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Botero is now one of the world's richest and most successful artists... Some critics regard his work as predictable and shallow — ‘popular’ in the worst sense of the word. Botero admits that people relate more readily to his style than to more abstract or conceptual works, but is proud of that fact. ‘It communicates very easily with people,’ he says.” </li></ul><ul><li>Vivienne Walt Time </li></ul>
Botero Before <ul><li>Before becoming a world-famous painter, however, Botero studied to become a matador. For this reason, many of his earlier paintings depict bull fighting scenes. </li></ul>
Still Life with Mandolin 1956 <ul><li>Botero’s “puffy” style started in still life before infusing his takes on classic paintings and original artwork featuring pudgy people and animals. </li></ul>
Botero’s style <ul><li>“ Even the name Botero is shorthand for one of his paintings or one of his trademark pudgy figures, and if someone whispers ‘Botero-esque’ as you waddle by, you can be sure that it's time to start losing a few.” </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Kennicott, Washington Post </li></ul>
Even his animals—even his sculptures —are chubby!
Botero’s Vision <ul><li>“ It isn't clear whether Botero sees his Boteros quite like we do, as slightly ridiculous figures, a particular species with all the grotesquerie but little of the visual sting of caricatures such as the decadent old men and prostitutes of George Grosz. He seems to see the world through the medium of his tubbies, and they are essentially neutral objects, which can be fit to multiple purposes” </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Kennicott </li></ul>
Parody <ul><li>Some of Botero’s works use his trademark style to parody famous paintings. Compare… </li></ul>
Social Satire <ul><li>Botero’s chubby characters can also depict daily life in Colombia, as in this depiction of an upper middle class family. </li></ul>What do the proportions in this painting tell you about Botero’s views on the “bourgeoisie”? What about the figures’ positions?
Botero and Religion <ul><li>Notice how religious figures can be held up for ridicule also. Does this priest look like someone anyone would take seriously? </li></ul>
What do you see? What does the background of this painting indicate to you? How do the figures depicted fit in this setting? What about their clothes? Look at the proportions of the two figures. What do you think the sizes indicate?
Junta Militar 1973 “ At first glance the work is a signature Botero - full figures in bright, flat colors but a second reading evokes the kernel of his developing fascination with the military and on a more emotional level, issues such as loss, sadness and nostalgia. Junta Militar exudes a slightly unsettling atmosphere and in its mild, almost deceiving way, it is a milestone on the artist’s road to uncovering the many layers of society’s dehumanization which often occurs at the hands of politicians and generals.” Artnexus.com
Drug Wars in Colombia <ul><li>For decades, Botero avoided depicting the horrors of the civil war and cruelties of drug trafficking in his native country. </li></ul>In 2000, after his own son, a politician, was convicted of taking drug money, Botero could keep silent no longer.
The Role of Drugs and War Which character represents the drug traffickers? How can you tell? What does the other figure indicate about the drug trade’s effect on Colombia’s citizens? How does Botero use color in this painting to make his point?
The Cost of War <ul><li>Guerrilla warfare and drug disputes have been tearing Colombia apart for over 40 years. </li></ul>The focus of this painting is completely different from Botero’s earlier works. What’s different, and why the shift?
Land mines <ul><li>“ Based on the annual report from Landmine Monitor, an international organization established in 1999, Colombia is third in the list of countries with the greatest number of anti-personnel land mine victims, following Cambodia and Afghanistan. Land mines claim two or three victims every day in Columbia, which is accountable for more than 13 percent of the land mine related accidents in the world.” </li></ul><ul><li>Vinicius Souza and Maria Eugênia Sá Worldpress.org </li></ul>
What’s Changed? <ul><li>Botero has not given up his trademark style, but the figures in this painting (cropped) hardly resemble the chubby Mona Lisas, ballerinas, and even priests of the past. What sets these paintings apart? </li></ul>
Remember Abu Ghraib? <ul><li>The United States took a beating in world opinion when photos of torture were released from the prison at Abu Ghraib. After this dismal episode, Botero’s social critiques expanded beyond his native Colombia. </li></ul>
Abu Ghraib Style Choices <ul><li>Flesh tones are sunburned or sickly green , and the backgrounds are dark military greens , ochre tiles and a black void seen through prison bars. Many of the works were done in charcoal or pencil, with a splash of rust color soaking through, to indicate blood. The rare bright spots in the paintings come from the paraphernalia of sadism: a blue latex glove worn by an American captor, strangely festive blindfolds, or bright-red women's underwear , used to demean and embarrass the men. </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Kennicott </li></ul>
Interpretation <ul><li>“ The men at Abu Ghraib may not have been skeletal, but they weren't pleasantly plump, a condition that suggests (in artistic terms) bourgeois prosperity or complacency. Indeed, being fat, in our image-conscious society, is almost the same as being guilty” </li></ul><ul><li>Phillip Kennicott </li></ul>
Comparing Cultures <ul><li>We might not have land mines or guerrilla warfare, but we in the United States still face our own problems daily. </li></ul>What social issues do you see around you? In your school? In your community? In your country?
Choose a Cause <ul><li>Choose one of the problems you see around you to address artistically, as Botero has. </li></ul>As Botero is both a painter and a sculptor, you may choose your medium. Well, you can use markers or play dough.
Making a Statement <ul><li>Before you are granted access to your medium, you must first come up with a statement of what issue you will depict and how you will show the problem, as well as its connection to Botero’s work. </li></ul>Spanish II: your statement can be very simple, but it must be in Spanish !
The Botero Effect <ul><li>To achieve Botero’s chubby style, consider starting your drawing with pencilled ovals, or your sculpture by fitting puffy lumps together. </li></ul>
As your creation comes to life, consider… Proportion Color and Position
Works Cited <ul><li>“ Fernando Botero.” Answers.com. 2007. Answers Corporation. 06 May 2007. <http://www.answers.com/topic/fernando-botero-1>. </li></ul><ul><li>Kennicott, Philip. “A Conflict of Images.” w ashingtonpost.com . 14 Oct 2006. The Washington Post. 06 May 2007. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101301826.html>. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Matta, Botero and Rivera Lead Latin American Art at Christie’s.” ArtNexus.com . 2007. ArtNexus.com. 06 May 2007. <http://www.artnexus.com/ANnewsdetail/15151>. </li></ul>
Works Cited <ul><li>Souza, Vinicius and Maria Eugênia Sá. “In Colombia, Land Mines Claim Three Victims a Day.” 22 Feb 2006. Worldpress.org . 07 May 2007. <http://www.worldpress.org/Americas/2271.cfm>. </li></ul><ul><li>Walt, Vivienne. “Nice Round Figures.” Time . 12 Jun 2005. CNN. 07 May 2007. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1071199-1,00.html>. </li></ul>
For More Information <ul><li>Check out Sra. H.’s bookmarks on Colombia and Botero at </li></ul><ul><li>Del.icio.us/Huerter0/Colombia </li></ul>