Botero at Rome: more real than reality

If walking nearby the Fori Imperiali I would see the Manifesto of the  Fernando Botero Exibition, I could not avoid going and watching the 50 materpieces of the unique Colombian artist, coming from all over the world. It is the first Italian retrospective, at the Vittoriano from May the 5th to August 27th, that is the celebration of his 50 years carrier, from 1958 to 2016.

A bronze sculpture welkomes you at the entrance, followed by others plentiful forms, light and elegant in the meantime, standing for his picture’s poetic.

When entering the first of the seven sections dedicated to the old masters like Raffaello, Piero della Francesca, Velasquez and Rubens immediately you are sorrounded by colours, oil on canvans. A tribute to famous paintings, reinterpretations, that mix up his latin-american culture and the European one. His pictorial stretch is unmistakable, delicate and nicely, expression of his own idea of volume and space. An art award, universal timeless heritage.

The life still sequence confirms his unique lively and harmonious style.

“Look at the one of my still life and you will notice that the knives and forks, the fruit, the table, the napkin, everything is rendered in the same way, so all the work radiates a sense of unity, harmony and consistency. That is what communicates its essential truth.”

The religion and politic sections hit because of their irony. The first is an expression of the daily surprising supernatural, the second conveys a delicate idea of power, without judgment in a suspended atmosphere. You can’t avoid smiling in front of the Botero’s extraordinary bishops, goudy Presidents and ruddy First Ladies.

You reach the climax in the central part of the exhibition, the Latin-American life. Daily life’s colours, shapes and spaces are full, intense and suspended at the same time.

“My painting conveys the world I knew when I was very young, in my land. It’s a kind of nostalgia that I made the central aspect of my work.”

Nothwithstandig he has been living in several countries, his birthplace is his main inspiration. Popular art’s direct and essential language is that of his painting. The narrative base is that of his native earth.

The final rooms dedicated to nudes and circus are the most famous. The ruddy females and the powerful men conveys sympathy and vivacity, lightness and grace. Sometimes the grotesque figures can be sensual or sad, but they are life’s celebration without malice or sin. The balancing artists and the clowns generate astonishment and melancholy, even if the nitid line of the painting conveys security.

“Painting is a distressing profession… synthesis of passion and rules.”

Once you are out of the exhibition you remember the strong authors’ personality in his subjects. It is clear that reality and fairy tale go together and make representation similar to reality, almost at its limit without exceeding, always consistent.

Link for insights on Fernando Botero:

www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/fernando-botero

www.ilvittoriano.com/mostra-botero-roma.html

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