Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Colombia chapter Cartagena has to say Museo Botero:
“The slightly confusing web of museums run by the Banco de la República, including Museo Botero, Casa de Moneda, Colección de Arte and Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, are essentially one massive and labyrinthine inter-connected museum complex and form what is easily one of Bogotá’s top attractions.
The highlight of Banco de la República’s massive museum complex is several halls spread over two floors dedicated to all things chubby: hands, oranges, women, mustached men, children, birds, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) leaders. All of these are, of course, the robust paintings and sculptures of Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero (Botero himself donated these works).
The collection also includes several works by Picasso, Chagall, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Miró, and some hilarious sculptures by Dalí and Max Ernst.
Fernando Botero is the most widely recognized Colombian painter and sculptor. Born in Medellin, he had his first individual painting exhibition in Bogotá at the age of
19 and gradually developed his easily recognizable style – characterized by his figures’ massive, almost obscene curvaceousness. In 1972 he settled in Paris and began experimenting with sculpture, which resulted in a collection of Gordas and gordos (fat women and men), as Colombians call these creations.
Today, his paintings hang on the walls of world-class museums and his monumental public sculptures adorn squares and parks in cities around the globe, including Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Florence and New York.
Moving from his typically safe subject matter in 2004, he shocked Colombia with a collection of works examining the country’s civil war; and in 2005, he produced a controversial series of images that split critical opinion, featuring scenes from Iran’s Abu Ghraib prison, where US forces tortured and humiliated detainees. Chile some lauded Botero’s move into more political matters, others regarded it as too little, too late, and still others thought this out-of-character development was inappropriate.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
The most important museum in the Candalaria district is the Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold) but we put that on hold so that we could visit it with my sister and her husband when they join us in Colombia in early March.
However, because there is no charge to visit the Banco de la República’s museum complex, we decided to see the art of Medellin’s favorite son, Fernando Botero as well as the paintings and sculptures of famous European artists that he collected during his lifetime.
It was a great way to start of exploration of the Candalaria neighbourhood – we had a few laughs at some of his works of art, admired paintings by some of the grand masters and had an exquisite lunch in the complex’s Marchá restaurant.