Colombian painter and sculptor. After attending a Jesuit school in Medellín he was sent to a school for matadors in 1944 for two years. He first exhibited in 1948 in Medellín with other artists from the region and provided illustrations for the Sunday supplement of the daily paper El Colombiano at this time. His discovery of the works of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco inspired paintings such as Woman Crying (1949; artists priv. col., see 1979 exh. cat., p. 25). After studying at the San José high school in Marinilla, near Medellín, from 1949 to 1950 and then working as a set designer, he moved to Bogotá in 1951. A few months after his arrival he had his first one-man show there at the Galería Leo Matiz in 1951, at which time he was working under the influence of Gauguin and Picassos work of the blue and rose periods. In 1952 Botero travelled with a group of artists to Barcelona, where he stayed briefly before moving to Madrid. From 1952 to 1953 he studied at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, although he was more interested in the paintings by Goya and Velázquez in the Prado. In 1953 he moved to Paris, where he lost his earlier fascination with the modern French masters and spent most of his time in the Louvre. He then travelled to Florence, where he stayed from 1953 to 1954 studying the works of Renaissance masters such as Giotto, Uccello and Piero della Francesca.
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