Tuesday, May 29, 2012
About 10 years ago, I was walking out of a store and saw that they were selling reproductions of famous paintings. They were the usual Monet's, Picasso's, still life of flowers, and landscapes. But then I saw this painting of a couple dancing. I had never seen this painting before. I immediately fell in love with it. I can't say for sure why. I loved how round their bodies were. I loved how they didn't portray the perfect people.
I remember asking who the artist was and the title of the painting. Afterwards, when I would look for the painting I would only find the dancing couple with the woman wearing the red dress. I liked it, but it wasn't quite the same as the first painting.
The more I looked at his work and learned about him, the more I fell in love with his work. I seem to have a fascination with artists who create reproductions of famous works, but add their own personal twist to it. Here are some of Botero's:
I saw some of his artwork at MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art), but only a few pieces. When I attended a lecture there, the gift shop was having a sale on their street banners. As a surprise, my ex had bought me the Botero banner of the couple dancing (woman wearing the red dress). It now hangs in the corner of my classroom, which stirs up many student questions about why the artist paints "fat" people. I love having the discussion with my students about what was considered beautiful during the renaissance times v. current day, and how there is a beauty in Botero's figures. Sometimes, just sometimes, it gets my students to think about what society considers beautiful and what should be valued as beautiful, but is overlooked.
In 2009, the Bowers Museum had an exhibit on Botero. It was the largest body of his work that I have ever seen all at once. I learned a lot of his art had political messages to them. This delighted me. As an illustrator, I love artwork that has a message or tells a story. It appeals to my imagination. It appeals to the storyteller inside me.
I think his work appeals to me because it reminds me of images from my childhood. The roundness of the faces remind me of Cabbage Patch Kids or Garbage Pail Kids, both of which were favorites of mine.