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A Family

also known as Una familia

Artist: Fernando Botero
Created: 1996
Dimensions (cm): 155.0 x 195.0
Format: Oil on canvas

A Family

“In art, as long as you have ideas and think, you are bound to deform nature. Art is deformation.” – Fernando Botero

In 1996, Fernando Botero created an oil painting entitled ‘A Family’. It is a perfect example of a style that emerged in approximately 1964, whereby the artist’s personal interpretations emerge on the canvas. Botero consistently applied this style to his paintings.

At first glance, ‘A Family’ tends to evoke a humorous response as all six figures in the painting are stout, but upon careful analysis, a symbolic nature soon becomes evident, as is often the case with many of Fernando Botero’s works. The short stature of the children’s nurse can be interpreted as the manner in which the members of the family perceive her role. The even smaller size of the soldier could be viewed as a direct attack on society, a powerful reflection of the lack of competence in dealing with a multitude of social concerns. The intensive blue of the mother’s dress amid the earthy tones immediately draws the viewer’s attention, signifying a particular importance to the maternal role. Botero placed his figures in a circle, facing each other, thereby creating a feeling of family harmony and nicety.


E. John Bullard, Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art was quoted as saying “Botero is an artist that uses his distinctive style to comment on all facets of human life…” Bullard further commented that Botero’s “portly figures can appear gentle and endearing in a family portrait, but the same style used to depict a political leader can have a satirical bite.”


The New Orleans Museum of Art is currently holding an exhibition entitled “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero” which will run from June 28 to September 21, 2008. The exhibition consists of 100 paintings, drawings, and sculptures that reflect Botero’s career from 1959 to as late as 2005. All of the art pieces are currently on loan, provided by the artist; some are favourites from his personal collection while others were reacquired after years of leaving his ownership. Many of the works on display are being viewed by the public for the first time ever.


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