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Ode to Art: Botero Museum

The Botero Museum is located at Calle 11 # 4-14 , it is a large collection of works donated to Colombia by the artist Fernando Botero. The collections reside in a colonial house that functioned as an archbishopric until 1955. The Botero Museum located in Bogotá, Colombia houses one of Latin America’s most important international art collections. It sees 500,000 visitors annually, around 1,000 daily, and of those 2,000 students per month. Being in La Candelaria neighborhood of Bogotá, the museum is near to other important landmarks like the Luis Ángel Arango Library and the Gold Museum of Bogotá.

Botero Museum Garden


In the year of 2000 the Colombian artist Fernando Botero donated 208 art pieces, 123 of his own making and 85 of other international artists, to the Bank of the Republic. With this collection, the Botero Museum was founded in the neighborhood of La Candelaria, the historic center of Bogotá, in a colonial mansion that was acquaired by the Bank of the Republic and made suitable to house the art collection by Fernando Botero himself. Since of November 1, 2000, the museum has been open to the public free of charge.


The art collection donated by Colombian master artist Fernando Botero is considered the most important donation in the Country’s history. The donation was given to Colombia’s Central Bank (Banco de la República) and includes 123 works of art by Botero. The techniques used in such pieces are mainly drawing, watercolors, oil painting, pastels and sculpture.


The Left Hand bronze sculpture located in the entrance of the Botero Museum
The Left Hand

The ground floor of the museum ‘s exhibits one of  Botero’s most famous works: The enormous Left Hand.

The sculpture was done in 1975 , a year after Fernando Botero suffered a car accident in Spain , where it collided with a truck while driving between Seville and Madrid with his family. As a result of the event, Peter, his younger son of four years, was killed, and the artist suffered injuries to his right hand.

Time after the accident, Botero made ​​a series of paintings in which he paid tribute to his late son. It’s possible that in the same way the artist rendered a small artistic tribute to his son’s hands.

Man, Woman, and Child - 1996. Behind and to the right The Raval Cat in the Botero Museum
Man, Woman, and Child – 1996. Behind and to the right The Raval Cat now housed in Barcelona, Spain.

Upon entering the sixth hall you will find sculptures such as Maternity, Man Woman and Child, The Dream, The Swan, and The Raval Cat.

Interestingly enough, Fernando Botero’s Cat was purchased by Barcelona City Council in 1987. From then until 2003 the cat wandered the city’s streets in search of a permanent site. His first stop-off point was the Parc de la Ciutadella, near his fellow animals at Barcelona Zoo. Then he was taken to a site by the Olympic Stadium, and a few years later he was put in a little square behind Barcelona’s medieval shipyards. Finally, in 2003, the decision was taken to move him to a permanent location at the end of the newly created Rambla del Raval.

Adam and Eve bronze sculpture in Botero Museum
Adam and Eve (Fernando Botero – Bronze Sculpture)

By combining Renaissance and Baroque painting techniques with the colonial tradition of Latin America, Botero creates a figurative painting style that is universal in its appeal. He captures intimate moments in life – a woman bathing, a men’s card game or a family posing for a photograph – depicting plump, nonchalant figures in everyday scenes. In group scenes, the artist often teases the viewer by showing one nude female figure, which is reminiscent of the famous Manet painting, Luncheon on the Grass.

Born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932, Botero moved to Bogotá in 1951 where he had his first solo exhibition at the Leo Matiz Gallery. He studied in Madrid at the San Fernando Academy, and in Florence where he learned the fresco techniques of the Italian masters. In 1956 he taught at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Bogotá and traveled to Mexico City to study the work of Rivera and Orozco. In 1969, his work was shown in the ‘Inflated Images’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which established his reputation as a major painter.

La Carta (1976) - Fernando Botero
La Carta (1976): Oil on canvas – Fernando Botero
Pareja Bailando (1987): Oil on canvas - Fernando Botero
Pareja Bailando (1987): Oil on canvas – Fernando Botero
Guerrilla Of Eliseo Velasquez (1988): Oil on canvas - Fernando Botero
Guerrilla Of Eliseo Velasquez (1988): Oil on canvas – Fernando Botero
El Estudio (1990): Oil on canvas - Fernando Botero
El Estudio (1990): Oil on canvas – Fernando Botero

The museum consists 123 works of Fernando Botero and 85 of other artists for a total of 208 works of art. Highlights of the permanent collection include works by Balthus, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Sonia Delaunay, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse.

Busto retrospectivo de mujer, 1933. Salvador Dalí.
Busto retrospectivo de mujer, 1933. Salvador Dalí. (Retrospective Bust of a Woman)
Mujer Con Sombrero - Pablo Picasso
Mujer con sombrero (1943) – Pablo Picasso

The Botero museum is open every day except Tuesday and admission is free . This is my favourite free things to see in Bogotá.  What’s yours?

2 responses to “Ode to Art: Botero Museum”

  1. cindamackinnon Avatar

    Oh thank you for these wonderful pictures! When we were in Bogota we ran out of time and could not see all of the Botero Museum. The Gold Museum is also fabulous.


    1. Will Castillo Avatar

      Thank you Cinda! When will you be visiting Toronto? 🙂


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