Fernando Botero's art, so monumentally proportioned, has delighted and intrigued (and sometimes offended) viewers for decades. Our area gets a closer look at this internationally celebrated artist beginning Saturday when the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg opens "The Baroque World of Fernando Botero." It's a big show befitting the art with 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures — some so huge they have to sit on the museum lawn. This is the artist's first retrospective since the acclaimed 1997 show at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, and it is one of the most important ones coming here in 2010. Shown here is The First Lady, a 1989 oil painting. It continues through April 4. The museum is at 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission during the special exhibition is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $10 for students 7 and older. Group rates are available. Don Bacigalupi, director of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., will present a lecture, "Fernando Botero and the Art of Radical Stylization," at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15. See the film Botero: Born in Medellin at 2 p.m. Wednesday, free with museum admission. fine-arts.org; (727) 896-2667.
Lennie Bennett, Times art critic