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4 famous BOTERO paintings

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Famous Botero Paintings

Between the Botero's most famous paintings stand out "In Front of the Sea", "Mona Lisa at 12", "Camera degli Sposa" and "Dead Bishops", among other. At we talk to you in more depth about them.

Fernando Botero (1932-2023) was one of the most popular and prominent Colombian figurative artists and sculptors of the 20th century. His popularity came hand in hand with his characteristic style, the boating. A style that consists of representing people and all types of figures with an enormous and exaggerated volume, recreating itself in the sensuality of forms and making critical and satirical reinterpretations of a wide variety of topics: from politics to religion.

In this lesson from we present some of the best paintings by Botero so that you can learn about the evolution of the artistic career of one of the most iconic Latin American artists of the 20th century.

You may also like: Famous Picasso Paintings


  1. Characteristics of Botero's paintings
  2. What are Botero's most famous works?
  3. instagram story viewer
  4. Facing the sea (1952), his first award with an artist
  5. Camera degli Sposi, a tribute to Mantegna (1961)
  6. Dead Bishops (1965), another of Botero's most representative works
  7. Mona Lisa aged 12 (1978), a masterpiece by Botero

Characteristics of Botero's paintings.

Botero is one of the best known painters for his unique style and perspective. Here we are going to analyze the characteristics of Botero's paintings:

  • Botero was a sculptor and painter who was controversial because of the style that he created and that defines almost all of his work: the boating A style that consists of evocation of figures with voluptuous and voluminous shapes, being for him a manifestation of sensuality and beauty. Botero thus broke with the artistic tradition of his time and both his paintings and his sculptures generated a certain rejection from the most academic critics. Although, over time, Botero received applause and recognition from both the general public and critics.
  • Botero, who considered himself a self-taught artist, he prioritized volume and space, imbuing his works with monumentality, extravagance, sensuality, irony and a great sense of humor.
  • Another of his characteristics is to express his huge figures in too small spaces as if to contain them, further emphasizing the feeling of fatness, or rather obesity, of the painted or sculpted characters or figures.
  • His theme is very varied and represented circus characters, nudes, scenes of daily life, both domestic and street, brothels, reinterpretations of classic works, religious scenes, bullfights and portraits of characters such as politicians.
  • In this very personal and different style of Botero it is also possible to trace the influences of the tradition of the great masters of art, of Baroque, of the murals by Diego Rivera or those of Siquieros, in addition to the characteristic aesthetics of South American folklore.

What are Botero's most famous works?

The personal and artistic evolution of Fernando Botero is most curious and interesting. Although his beginnings in the world of bullfighting were doomed to failure due to a mishap, this led him to dedicate yourself to newspaper illustration and to hold a first exhibition with other authors in 1948.

His proximity to nonconformity in art and follow the trail of figures like Picasso, in addition to making drawings considered erotic, led him to be expelled from the Jesuits. This did not prevent him from continuing his training, winning awards in his country and taking the opportunity to learn about the work of Velázquez in Madrid and enrolling there at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts and also studying in Florence, where he trained in Sculpture.

In New York he made contact with the abstract expressionism, being in Washington where he will hold his first exhibition outside of Colombia. It will not be until the 80s and 90s when his work begins to be recognized.

Among Botero's famous paintings the following stand out.

Famous Botero Paintings - What are Botero's most famous works?

Facing the sea (1952), his first award with an artist.

Just as Tahiti was a paradise for Gauguin, Botero followed in the artist's footsteps and went to Tolú (Bogotá), on the islands of San Bernardo and the Gulf of Morrosquillo. There he lived for ten months painting in front of the sea and capturing the colors of a changing landscape of blues and yellows. In those months he painted about twenty oil paintings, focusing on fishing scenes, parties, duels and carnivals.

One of those paintings is “Frente al mar”, a work in which he represented a native of the town of Tolú, drunk and being tied up by his companions. Botero received the second prize at the National Hall of Artists in Bogotá in 1952 and the work marks the beginning of his period of success in his country, still constituting a very different artistic moment both in theme and technique from his later style.

Famous Botero Paintings - Facing the Sea (1952), his first award with artist

Camera degli Sposi, a tribute to Mantegna (1961)

This is another of Botero's famous and controversial paintings. In this painting, inspired by the painting by Andrea Mantegna for the Doge's Palace of Mantua, Botero presents a turning point in his work. And so, although the style remains abstract figurative under the influence of abstract expressionism, Botero already shows his taste for grotesque and voluminous figures, something that shocked the public of the XI National Hall (1958).

Be that as it may, Botero was awarded again in that room. Currently, only a second version of the work is preserved, a version made in 1961.

Famous Botero paintings - Camera degli Sposi, a tribute to Mantegna (1961)

Dead Bishops (1965), another of Botero's most representative works.

Botero also had a ironic look at the conservative society of his country and his time. A society in which the Catholic Church had a dominant role and which became one of the most recurrent themes of the painter's work during the 60s.

In this work, Botero ironizes about ecclesiastical hierarchies, showing them here dead and equal in a mountain of bodies that rest peacefully, relaxed after losing their power and being one more in the face of death.

Famous Botero paintings - Dead Bishops (1965), another of Botero's most representative works

Mona Lisa aged 12 (1978), a masterpiece by Botero.

Botero returns fully to the figurative and stands out at a time when the abstract expressionism of artists such as Rothko or Pollock. In this version of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci Botero represents that iconic female figure as a robust girl, painted with a soft and almost imperceptible and showing us a more tender image and with all the serenity and peace that radiates the original.

Here he leaves us a good example of his style, the boterism or fatism, also know as disproportionate figurative expressionism. A style of his own that brought him worldwide fame.

And with this we finish this review of famous Botero paintings, what do you think?

Famous Botero Paintings - 12 Year Old Mona Lisa (1978), a Botero Masterpiece

If you want to read more articles similar to Famous Botero Paintings, we recommend that you enter our category of History.


  • GARCIA, Daniel. Images of violence in the painting of Fernando Botero. 2011.
  • GONZALEZ RUIZ, Nubia Janeth. Colombia in the painting of Fernando Botero: magical realism in the Botero imaginary. 2006.
  • RÍOS, Sebastian. Fernando Botero 90 years of a genius. 2022.
  • ROMERO, Armando. Gabriel García Márquez, Álvaro Mutis, Fernando Botero: three different people, one true objective. Inti, 1982, no 16/17, p. 135-146.
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