The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this interview written in the first person by journalist Soad Aljure, Colombian painter Fernando Botero discusses certain aspects of his life, his method, and his artistic credo from a perspective born of maturity and with a confidence born of international prestige. Botero asserts that “[…] a painter is successful when he has achieved a personal style.” He also states that the “revelation” he experiences upon returning to Colombia after living abroad heightens the sense of passion in his painting. In speaking of his approach to painting, Botero refers to the pursuit of “restrained delight” as opposed to “explosive emotion.” Botero explains that while in Italy, he experienced the heights of pleasure in painting in “the sensuality of form.” The influence of Lithuanian-born North American critic and art historian Bernard Berenson was decisive to Botero’s development. He also discusses his theory of the tactile in Renaissance art. Botero envisions his painting as the fruit of a combination of everything he has seen and experienced, stating “I have painted like almost everyone. Now I paint like me.”
At the age of forty, Colombian painter Fernando Botero (b. 1932) settled in New York. By that time, he was economically comfortable and enjoying growing international recognition. In this interview, Botero discusses certain aspects of his life, [creative] trajectory, and artistic interests in more depth than in many of the other interviews published up to this point.
Of particular interest is Botero’s account of the conflicts that took place during his student days, and his experiences while living in the coastal town of Tolú when he—like Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) before him—decided to live far from a large city. In discussing monstrosity, one of the fundamental aspects of his work at the time, Botero asserts that art history implies the history of monstrosity. In other words, all the deformations effected in Botero’s work are tied to a pictorial pursuit of the tactile and the sensory. Botero does not believe that painting can be taught. He states, “I have taught myself everything I know about painting.” Regarding success, he asserts that “for a painter success is […] producing an image that means a great deal to a great many people.”