BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Renowned Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose depictions of people and objects in plump, exaggerated forms became emblems of Colombian art around the world, has died. He was 91.
Lina Botero told the Colombian radio station Caracol that her father died Friday morning in Monaco of pneumonia complications.
Botero depicted politicians, animals, saints and scenes from his childhood in an inflated and colorful form that was instantly recognizable. The artist attained global fame and influence despite his humble origins, and his paintings were exhibited around the world, while his imposing bronze sculptures can be found in the parks and avenues of many European and Latin American capitals.
“His success was truly immense,” Botero’s son Juan Carlos wrote in a biography of his father, published in 2010. “Fernando Botero has created a unique style, that is original and easy to recognize.”
A documentary, “Botero,” based in part on Juan Carlos Botero’s book, was screened at the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg in 2019. He told the Tampa Bay Times that his father taught him to “remain true to your convictions, even if they seem unpopular. That dedication to his ideas, that strength of incredible character has been an example to us all.”
Tampa is home to an 8-foot-tall bronze Botero sculpture, “Mujer Vestida (Dressed Woman),” which was donated to the Tampa Museum of Art by Jorge M. Pérez, founder, CEO and chairperson of development company Related Group. The sculpture had been part of Related Group’s corporate collection and was displayed on Bayshore Boulevard before Pérez donated it to the museum.
Botero was born on April 19, 1932, in Medellín, Colombia. As a child, he was enrolled by an uncle in a bullfighting school that he soon left, but it was a world captured later in his paintings.
Times staff writer Maggie Duffy contributed to this report.