Botero was born in 1932 in Medellín, Colombia. His upbringing was marked by isolation from the traditional art venues, Colombian heritage thus informs his art. The self-titled “most Colombian of Colombian artists”, establishes and nourishes a link to his mother country despite his being based in New York since 1960. He graduated from the Medellín University in 1950, before going to study at the San Fernando Academy, Madrid, in 1952. He continued his European education from 1953 to 1955 in Florence, studying particularly fresco techniques and Art History. Botero became interested in painting at a young age and his first one-man exhibition took place place in Bogotá at the Leo Matiz Gallery in 1951, when he was just nineteen years old.
Appropriating themes from all of art history, he transforms them to his own particular vocabulary. His distinctive style of smooth inflated shapes with unexpected shifts in scale is today instantly recognizable. The ‘fat people’, often thought by critics to satirize the subjects and situations that Botero chooses to paint, first stand for themselves, as aesthetic shapes, plain expressions of the living model. Botero is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense of the word, choosing what colors, shapes, and proportions to use based on intuitive aesthetic thinking and on the artist’s own apprehension of the surrounding world. His paintings, sculptures and drawings are exhibited and represented in museum collections throughout the world and most major art infrastructures have included one man exhibitions of his work in the past forty years showing global and constant interest for his work.