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.
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
Mujer Vestida, 1989
Esfinge (Sphinx), 1995
Hombre caminante, 1999
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.