Botero’s Bullfighting

20 June, 2023

Fernando Botero was been very fond of bullfighting. In his childhood, he spent his
days studying bullfighting outside bullrings and immediately began drawing the
scenes and selling them outside.

He was motivated by his uncle Joaquín, a bullfighting enthusiast, and enrolled in a
bullfighting school, which was an unforgettable experience for the artist, but shortly
after joining, he decided that from behind the fence and behind the canvas he felt
more passion for this: “That’s when my love for drawing and painting began,
because I started many paintings of bulls, maybe that’s why I’m a painter,”.

Fernando Botero’s connection to painting his culture was established by doing this,
and it remained one of the great characteristics in his works decades later. Also, he
never detached himself from bullfighting, which was also a constant throughout his
artistic career.

The matador’s bedroom, 1985

The scenes in Botero’s bullfighting series, while representing moments that clearly marked his work, also provide us with a sense of magic: the show features strong colors that convey meaning, clear captured movements, and all the violence and beauty throughout the action. It does not separate the essence of the moment from those elements that are present such as the costumes, the arena, the noise and the public present.

In his paintings, he describes with great precision the gestures, attitudes, postures and environments that strengthen a unique and authentic vision of the bullfighting world, capturing the essence and even the smallest detail of everything that is present in the bullfight. Thus, he achieves that this show can be perceived in a striking way and full of great proportions beyond the portrayed, as it contains all the elements that define the particularity of his work: voluminous figures, voluptuous representations, games of scales, spaces and the particular and unmistakable volumes in his work at the service of the bullfighter, the picador, his horse and the bull itself.

The bull, 1986

This is one of the many series that Fernando has created and has become a lasting testimony of his passion for bullfighting and his ability to transmit emotions through art.

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