Renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, known for his iconic plump figures and satirical art, has died at 91.

Who was Fernando Botero?

Fernando Botero, the internationally acclaimed Colombian artist, whose distinctive style made him an icon in the world of art, has left an indelible mark on the creative landscape. Born on April 19, 1932, in Medellin, Colombia, Botero’s journey to becoming one of the world’s most celebrated artists was marked by humble beginnings. His parents, a traveling salesman and a seamstress, could hardly have foreseen the artistic legacy their son would leave behind.

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Cause of Death and Age

Botero’s death occurred on September 15 in a hospital in Monaco, where he was battling pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease. He was 91 years old at the time of his death. 

Net Worth

The artist’s estimated net worth exceeded $100 million, a testament to his prolific career and artistic impact.

Career and Famous Paintings

Botero’s art was characterized by plump, rotund figures, often portrayed in everyday situations with a satirical twist. While his subjects may have appeared comically exaggerated, Botero’s intention was to transport viewers to a “superlative dimension” where commonplace scenes took on profound meaning. Despite his humorous approach, he fearlessly tackled serious subjects, including Colombia’s internal conflicts, violence, and political turmoil.

One of Botero’s most poignant and globally recognized works was his Abu Ghraib series. Based on victim accounts and harrowing photos of Iraqi prisoners abused by U.S. soldiers, these paintings brought attention to the horrors of the scandal. Though not considered masterpieces, they successfully restored the prisoners’ dignity and humanity while highlighting their suffering.

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Wife Sophia Vari

Botero was married to Sophia Vari, a renowned artist known for her bronze sculptures and geometric paintings. She passed away on Friday, May 5th, at the age of 83, after battling cancer.

In total, Botero married three times and had four children, including a tragic loss when his 4-year-old son, Pedro, died in a 1974 car accident in Spain.

Botero is survived by his three children from his first marriage: Fernando, Juan Carlos, and Lina, along with a brother and grandchildren.

Legacy and Philanthropy

Botero’s commitment to making art accessible led him to donate over 200 works to establish the Botero Museum in Bogota. He also contributed to a museum in Medellin and installed numerous sculptures in the Plaza Botero. His philanthropy extended to donating art by renowned masters like Picasso, Dali, and Monet.

Fernando Botero, a true creative legend, has left an indelible mark on the art world. His passing marks the end of an era, but his profound artistic legacy and impact on the art world will endure for generations to come.