Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19, 1932 in Medellin, Antioquia) is a Colombian neo-figurative artist, self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists" early on, coming to prominence when he won the first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1959. He had 2 brothers.
Botero paints and draws in a style somewhat similar to Pablo Picasso whilst he lived in Dinard, Brittany, 1922, for example "Deux femmes courant sur la plage" (The Course). He strives in all his work to capture an essential part of himself and his subjects through color and form. His work includes still-life and landscapes, but Botero tends to primarily focus on situational portraiture. His paintings and sculptures are, on first examination, noted for their exaggerated proportions and the corpulence of the human figures and animal figures.
The "fat people" are often thought by critics to satirize the subjects and situations that Botero chooses to paint. Botero explains his use of obese figures and forms as such: "An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it." He is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense of the word, choosing what colors, shapes, and proportions to use based on intuitive aesthetic thinking. This being said, his works are informed by a Colombian upbringing and social commentary is woven throughout his work.
In early 2004, Botero donated a series of 23 oil paintings and 27 drawings depicting different elements of the country's long lasting violence, created between 1999 and 2004, to the National Museum of Colombia, where they were first publicly displayed between May 4 and June 11.
In early 2005, Botero revealed a series of 50 paintings that graphically represent the controversial Abu Ghraib incident, expressing the rage and shock that the incident provoked in the artist. The works were initially presented at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, and later in Germany and Greece. In October 2006, they were displayed at the Marlborough Gallery in New York City, their first showing in the United States. They were exhibited at The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California in Berkeley in the spring of 2007. The Abu Ghraib series was then presented in Washington, DC at the American University Museum until December 2007 and is currently showing in Monterrey, Mexico. Botero has stated that he does not plan to sell the paintings, but instead intends to donate them to museums as a reminder of the events depicted within.
Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia, whose Catholic churches still maintained the Baroque style. His upbringing was marked by isolation from the traditional art venues such as museums and other cultural infrastructures. His Colombian heritage thus informs him. At the age of 16 he published his first illustrations in the Colombian newspaper El Colombiano and with his earnings from this he managed to pay for his high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia. In 1952 he traveled to Bogotá and after five months he was able to give a personal exposition at the Leo Matiz gallery and later this same year he won the IX edition of the Salón de Artistas Colombianos. He then traveled to study arts in France.
Biographical information from Wikipedia