“I create my subjects somehow visualizing them in my style. I start as a poet, put the colors and composition down on canvas as a painter, but finish my work as a sculptor taking delight in caressing the forms.” - Fernando Botero
Born April 19, 1932 in Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia. At the age of 12 he is sent to a school of Tauromachy to study bullfighting. In 1949, he worked as an illustrator for the local newspaper and around this time, he encountered the work of Picasso in a book by Argentinean art critic Julio Payro. Botero was expelled from school after publishing an article entitled “Picasso and Nonconformity in Art.” He worked as a set designer for a traveling Spanish theatre company in the early 1950s and moved to Bogotá, where he befriended members of the avant-garde circle, including writer Jorge Zalamea. After traveling through Spain, he enrolled at the Academia San Fernando in Madrid, and encountered the works of Goya and Velasquez in the Prado, 1952. During this time, he supplemented his income by painting copies of the masters. Botero traveled to Paris and then Florence, where he attended the Academia San Marco and studied the Italian Renaissance Masters, 1952-1954. Returning to Bogotá briefly, he moved to Mexico City, 1955-1956. He illustrated Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which appeared in Vanity Fair. He established a workshop in Tuscany, where he continues to spend a few months a year working on sculpture.