Venus snoozing in Medellin's Botero Plaza

The World’s Coolest Square: 49 Photos From Medellin’s Botero Plaza

It didn’t take me long to decide that Botero Plaza was among my favorite public gathering places in the world. And that’s only partly because it’s the eponymous square of one my favorite contemporary artists.

Situated in the Old Quarter of Medellin’s city center, it’s home to 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero, the city’s favorite son, which he donated to the Museo de Antioquia, a world class art museum that dominates the square’s west side. They’ve been on permanent display in what is Medellin’s only open air museum since 2002.

What struck me most about the area is how welcoming the space actually is, one where seemingly everyone feels at home. Young mothers, drunks, beggars, cigarette and lime juice vendors freely intermingle with musicians, tourists, artists and bankers. Being surrounded by nearly two dozen stunning larger-than-life examples of human sensuality has a certain calming effect. Here it’s very palpable. Infectious.

Botero Plaza

In a recent post Pal and Lydian from Art Weekenders reminded me that Botero is celebrating his 82nd birthday today, 19 April, the perfect reason to finally give these 49 photos, taken early last June, a permanent home here.

I somehow missed shots of three of the 23 sculptures; my apologies for the oversight. On many I’ve included several angles to give a decent overview of the pieces.

Also included is a small gallery of portraits (the last group of photos below), faces I encountered during my one late morning and two early afternoons at the museum and plaza.

Botero on his style: ‘Voluminous’ sensuality

As is my habit, I also took several shots of paintings from the Antioquia’s collection. I’ll have to leave those for another time, but wanted to include this summary provided by the museum, in Botero’s own (translated) words, on why he portrays the human figure in the style he does:

“I fatten my characters to give them sensuality. I’m not interested in fat people for the sake of fat people.

What I’m saying is that they are not fat, but voluminous. If I make a fruit, a landscape, an animal, a man, anything, it is a deformation to exalt volume. So I do not see them as fat, but as voluminous.”

Enjoy the sensual volume.

Venus dormida, 1994

Rapto de Europa, 1991

Mujer con fruta, 1996

Hombre a Caballo, 1994

Gato, 1993

Mujer Vestida, 1989

Maternidad, 1995

Esfinge (Sphinx), 1995

Hombre caminante, 1999

Mujer, 1990

And ten others – click the photo to see its title

And finally, some of the people that give the plaza its life, charm and humility.



All images © Bob Ramsak 2013-2014. All rights reserved.
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  1. what stands out in these pictures is actually the way that they are part of day to day life – I really like that you’ve caught the mixture of people in the square. an amazing amount of art all in one place and in a public place too – a shame not to see more of this and without vandalism by the looks of it either, all looks well cared for. Is the sculptor also the same person that did the bird sculpture outside a bank on boat quay in Singapore – looks very similar?

    1. That’s what I really enjoy about it: the entire area is very much alive. The sculptures are as much a part of the landscape as the nearby trees and park benches.

      Sorry, but not sure what sculpture in Singapore you’re referring to.

  2. No wonder you love Botero Plaza and you have done a great job of capturing how alive and vibrant I imagine the area must feel. I love big public squares where locals hang out and the mix of sculptures definitely makes it unique! I hope i can get there one day.

  3. Awesome artist and park. They had a poster of one of his paintings at one of my old neighbourhood pubs.

  4. Love his style … thanks for introducing me to the sculptor’s work with your beautiful photos Bob. I’m with Sharon… I hope to get there some day.

  5. Beautiful set of pictures! Can’t wait to be in Medellin and spend some time there. your pictures convey the feeling of peace and calm one must feel over there, you did a great job. And it definitely arouses our curiosity for more!

  6. One of your most beautiful posts!!! I love Botero…He has something special that makes him close to the people…I think it is something similar to the “magical realism” in literature, like Gabriel García Marquez, …People can see themselves reflected in their Works…

  7. I LOVE this post!! What amazing sculptures – I have to get there to see some of them for myself!! And the lime juice vendors are fantastic. Wonderful photos.

  8. There are so many things going on at this square, I am not surprised that you enjoyed it so much! From squares like this, I loved Plaza de Armas in Santiago de Chile. It is also a vibrant square and there was even a corner where a lot of people played chess. I also joined them a couple of times, it was fun!

    1. I enjoyed that square too. You’re a better man than I – I watched a couple chess matches too, but I’m not nearly good enough to join anyone who’s good enough to play in public. 🙂

  9. Interesting! I find them beautiful and kind of amusing at the same time. Captivating.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  10. Great photos! I love outdoor sculpture galleries where people are really supposed to enjoy the pieces and incorporate them into daily life. Would love to head to Colombia and see these pieces in person!

  11. Voluptuous indeed! But he does it in a very tasteful and remarkable way. I love how open they are about the maternity ones. Love photos that peek into the daily lives of locals such as these.

  12. To me Botero Placa looks like a huge outdoor living room. People seem to enjoy themselves among the sculpture. Thanks for sharing it. Never heard of it before.

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