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Portrait of Velazquez

Artist: Fernando Botero

Portrait of Velázquez

Of all of the past and current artists that inspire Fernando Botero, Diego Velázquez quite possibly had the greatest impact. In 1985, Botero painted ‘Portrait of Velázquez’, one of a few tributes Botero created in honor of this great Spanish artist.

The figure in the painting is actually Botero; it is a self-portrait that depicts him dressed in the style of Diego Velázquez’s attire. The image thwarts reality and creates an impressive play on the two personalities, evoking both inspirational awe and a slight twist of humor.

Fernando Botero did not stray from his typical approach when he produced ‘Portrait of Velázquez’; he utilizes the round, full bodied form and uses vivid colors, as is his figurative style.  The subject holds a paint brush in one hand and, in the other, a wooden palette upon which his paint is prepared. He stares expressionless, fixated, penetrating the viewer’s gaze. One is left with the impression that the figure in the art work is in fact painting and the viewer has become his subject.

About the Artist

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

World famous sculptor and painter Fernando Botero is best known as a “figurative” artist. His unique work depicting vibrant, oversized men and women has given him distinctive recognition. Claiming that he has never painted an overweight person in his life, he deems the large figures within his art works to be a mere glorification of his perception of life and his understanding of sensuality. Many of his paintings, including ‘Portrait of Velázquez’, not only demonstrate exceptional talent, cleverness and humor, but also foster debate. His style of artistry is often referred to as “Boterismo”.

Self-titled the “most Colombian of Colombian artists”, Botero achieved national prominence by winning first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1958, which basically launched his successful career. He recently celebrated his 80th birthday.


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