May 5, 2004

Taking Up Arms

Words that typically come to mind in describing Fernando Botero’s painting would be “nostalgic,” “whimsical,” even “sweet.” In a significant departure, however, his more recent work reflects the violence that has been a fact of live in his native Columbia for a long time.

In an otherwise calmer world, Botero’s recent donation of fifty paintings to the National Museum of Colombia would not have earned much notice outside the art world. However, his dramatic shift in subject matter, as well the emotional comment on war, strikes a particular nerve right now.

In my collage, I imagine one of Botero’s figures dreaming of more placid depictions.

(The NYT has an audio slide show entitled “Fernando Botero: Painting a War” on their Multimedia page.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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