Columbian artist Fernando Botero spent much of 2010 and 2011 dipping his brush in oil paints creating his new religiously inspired collection: “The Way of the Cross. The Passion of Christ“. Having made its way through New York, Medellin, Lisbon, and Panama, the series, made up of 27 paintings and 34 drawings, has landed in Rome just in time for The Jubilee Year. Though religion is a common theme here, Botero’s works are far from ordinary. Round, doughy faces and figures dripping with blood and tears characterize his colorful interpretations of classic scenes, such as The Crucifixion, The Pity, and The Last Supper. They are not, however, straightforward, and subtle hints of a political nature can be spotted throughout.
With seemingly unexplainable artistic choices, such as green and blue skin tones along with miniature men in modern suits, each work engages you to ask questions and interpret the answers for yourself. But, perhaps, the most magnetic pull is drawn from the deeply distorted features of each face. Throughout his career, Botero has been known to portray masses of plump figures blushing, happily indulging in pleasures. Now he has taken a turn with these, the faces of pain and fear, compassion and mourning. These, matched with elegant shadowing techniques, precision in texture, and brilliant pops of color, make for a truly rich experience. Not to mention the always evocative nature of Christianity’s most powerful stories and images.
Born in Medellín in 1932, Botero’s signature “Boterismo” style never fails to exhibit some kind of Columbian flair. Though he has studied many techniques, his works are never realistic, but are instead intuitive and aesthetically inspired. As the most recognized and quoted living artist in all of Latin America, his works are exhibited in highly prestigious art museums around the world, including Park Avenue in New York and the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
His focuses have ranged from drug crime to politics, family to maternity, and leisure to religion, always keeping his recognizably plump and velvety figures consistent. Botero’s greatest hope, though, is for peace in his beloved country of Columbia. Though his paintings have the potential to rake in millions, he has donated hundreds of them to museums in Bogotá and his hometown, Medellín, alone. As “The Way of the Cross. The Passion of Christ” makes its way around the world, retirement is out of the picture for the 83-year-old artist who claims he will die with his paintbrush in hand.
Although this collection is perfectly fitted for Rome, the capital of Christianity, his unparalleled style holds much to be appreciated by the secular audience, as well. The Palazzo delle Esposizioni is so pleased that they are even offering a special brunch on Saturdays! The on-site Antonello Colonna Open Cafe will be serving from 12:30pm to 3:30pmevery Saturday, until the 1st of May, for an additional 20 euros. Further details about the brunch can be found here: http://antonellocolonna.it/open/711/
Till 1 May
Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Via Nazionale 194
Sun – Thurs: 10am-8pm, Fri – Sat: 10am-10.30pm, Closed Monday