b. 1932 Medellin, Colombia
Fernando Botero Angulo, born in 1932, is a figurative artist and sculptor from Medellín, Colombia. Fernando Botero was born the second of three sons to David Botero (1895-1936) and Flora Angulo (1898-1972). David Botero, a salesman who traveled by horseback, died of a heart attack when Fernando was four. His mother worked as a seamstress, and an uncle took a major role in his life. Although he was isolated from art presented in museums and other cultural institutes, Botero was influenced by the Baroque style of the colonial churches and the city life of Medellín while growing up. He received his primary education at Antioquia Ateneo and then received a scholarship to attend the Jesuit School of Bolívar. From 1944 to 1946, Botero's uncle sent him to a school for matadors. In 1948, Botero, at age 16 had his first illustrations published in the Sunday supplement of El Colombiano, one of the most important newspapers in Medellín. He used the money he was paid to attend high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia.
His signature style, also known as "Boterismo," depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volume. Depending on the piece, these figures can represent political criticism or humor. Botero's work was first exhibited in 1948 in a group show along with other artists from the region. From 1949 to 1950, Botero worked as a set designer and then moved to Bogotá in 1951. His first one-man show was held at the Galería Leo Matiz in Bogotá, a few months after his arrival. In 1952, Botero traveled with a group of artists to Barcelona, where he stayed briefly before moving on to Madrid. In Madrid, Botero studied at the Academia de San Fernando. In 1952, he traveled to Bogotá, where he had a solo exhibit at the Leo Matiz Gallery. In 1953, Botero moved to Paris, where he spent most of his time in the Louvre, studying the works there. He lived in Florence, Italy from 1953 to 1954, studying the works of Renaissance masters. In recent decades, he has spent most of his time in Paris, but spends one month a year in his native city of Medellín. He has had more than 50 exhibits in major cities worldwide, and his work commands selling prices in the millions of dollars. In 1958, he won the ninth edition of the Salón de Artistas Colombianos. In 2012, he received the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.
He is considered the most recognized and quoted living artist from Latin America, and his art can be found in highly visible places around the world, such as Park Avenue in New York City and the Champs-Élysées in Paris.