R&I – txPAT ****
Famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero is most notable for his odd baby-ish style. You might know his work from the “why tho” meme. But he is more than that. Botero’s unique style blends Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern to create paintings that are both new and old. Many of his paintings exhibit death, politics, and religion in odd physically misshapen ways.
Born in 1932 in Medellin, Botero lost his father at a young age. His uncle took him under his wing and through his family he grew fond of the artistry that he had seen in the Catholic Church. It was through the Baroque style of Catholicism that Botero’s interest in art itself began to flourish.
Perhaps this is why then he developed such a knack for religious artwork himself. Painted in 1976 Head of Christ ,as it is called in English, depicts Jesus in Botero’s famous bobbleheaded style. The Jesus pictured above is painted in a way that almost makes him look like a child.
Like so many other figures in Botero’s signature style this almost infantization of Jesus is not meant to be taken as a sign of disrespect. Botero often paints adult figures in ways that makes them look toddler-like. In many ways this is the opposite of the many medieval religious paintings that often depicted young child Jesus almost as a grown man even in his youth. Rather, Botero prefers his image of Jesus and other adults for that matter to maintain some semblance of their youth well into their old age.
He exaggerates the horror of his crucifixion by juxtaposing it against that of a childlike depiction of him. A reimagining of his innocence being tarnished by bloodshed. In this way Botero thinks not of the Son of God who was lost but of the loss of the naivety of youth that was readily replaced by the bloody realization of an adult saviour’s death.
Botero’s work is unorthodox but through his unique style he is able to often shed new light on an event or culture by depicting them in such an odd fashion. By reimagining them in childlike designs he makes us look at the people he paints from a new angle. For that I think he should be popular for more than the funny meme he helped spawn.
1. What religious symbolism can you pull from the painting
2. If you are religious yourself then when is a piece of art depicting a religious figure too offensive for you? Where do you draw the line?
3. For our more secular members, do you see any merit or value in religious artwork or do you prefer other themes and topics?