Creating a world of well-rounded folks

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-15 09:18:09

Creating a world of well-rounded folks

The Gardening Club is a fine example of Fernando Botero's portrait paintings of women. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fernando Botero has been painting for decades now, but he views every new painting as "an adventure and a discovery".

The prolific Colombian artist says painting for him has always been a novelty because he is "the first person to be surprised by what will happen" on his own canvas.

The 83-year-old man now brings his artistic surprises to Beijing, with his first exhibition on the Chinese mainland, Botero in China, displaying 96 large-format oil paintings and drawings since the 1970s, at the National Museum of China. The display started on Nov 21 and runs through Jan 2.

On show are included his famous works on the themes of circus and bullfighters. The exhibition also presents re-created classics by Botero to pay tribute to his mentors, including Rubens, Van Eyck and Diego Velazquez.

The exhibition reviews how Botero established and developed a rare artistic style of portraying subjects in volume. He has painted healthy people for long.

His early influence came from the paintings he saw in Florence in '50s that he felt were quite "volumetric". It was years later in Mexico that he found an individual personal style of expression while painting a still life of himself holding a mandolin, and the musical instrument's round body enlightened him to paint objects also in a round way.

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