Fernando Botero (born 1932) is a Columbian-born figurative artist whose signature style has become recognizable for its smooth textures and inflated, exaggerated shapes. Botero studied at a school for matadors for two years before discovering his passion for paintings and sculpture. His first gallery exhibit was a group showing in 1948 with other Columbian artists. As he developed his artistry, Botero travelled to Barcelona, Paris, and Madrid, and studied at the Academia de San Fernando. His first solo exhibit was held at the Leo Matiz gallery in Bogota in 1952. His works have sold for millions and have been exhibited throughout the world. When asked about his exaggerated style, Botero notes that he has never painted a “fat” person in his life; his inflated subjects represent sensuality and life. His signature style has inspired an artistic movement known as “Boterismo,” which focuses on creating voluptuous figures.
Botero’s subjects range from beautiful domestic scenes, still life and landscapes, to bullfights and civil unrest, and counts Goya, Velasquez, and Columbian folk art styles. His earlier works have referenced Old Masters as well as contemporary themes and styles. Fernando Botero is still painting, and continues to exhibit and donate works to museums. In 2000, the Botero Museum opened in Bogota, after the artist donated 208 works of art from his private collection, which included 85 pieces by international artists. The museum is free to all visitors as part of the donation agreement.