bronze with black patina
44 x 44,5 x 20 cm (17 1/4 x 17 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)
with signgature and numbered 6/6 on the plinth edition of 6 + 2 EA
Fernando Botero’s sculptural style, like his painting, is as unmistakable as it is unique. The grotesquely exaggerated curves of his figures create a monumental effect even in small-scale or, as here, smaller-than-life-sized sculptures whose presence is enhanced by the hieratic posture of the figures and the smooth, wrinkleless and shiny surfaces. These depictions are by no means meant as caricatures, and instead are an exaggeration that for Botero leads to the core of the creative problem, in sculpture as well as in painting. In his works Botero combines a variety of influences from Western art and the South American art of his native country. Aside from those taken from everyday life in Colombia, his themes often refer to classic subjects of Western art or famous works by old masters, which he studied mainly in Italy and Spain. Botero uses the formal language of ancient cultures, both from pre-Columbian and prehistoric art. In his work as well, the unrealistic exaggeration of forms is not to be understood as a distortion, but as an accentuation. His topic is the design of the body in space, which, due to the almost always noticeable lack of relation even between figures that appear together, as well as their posture toward the viewer, leads to a rigor that contrasts with the initially ironically interpreted fullness of the bodies. Yet this is precisely the point of Botero’s critique of aesthetic norms and artistic canonizations, which rejects both a formal-aesthetic limitation of “correct depiction” and avant-garde aberrances for their own sake as “attempts at colonization” in art. Nevertheless, particularly in this point it was an artist such as Picasso whose creative efforts and continual fragmenting, altering, and re-combining of forms of representation perhaps had the greatest influence on Botero’s artistic development. The horse is a constantly recurring theme in Botero's oeuvre, shaped by his own biography and his childhood memories of his father, who died at an early age, crossing Colombia on horseback as a traveling salesman. "I've been painting horses all my life, but they're all different." His horse sculptures in particular, regardless of their actual size, convey a monumental and engaging presence.