Fernando Botero is born on April 19, 1932 in Medellín, Colombia.
His father, David Botero, a travelling salesman, dies when Fernando is four years old. His father and his mother, Flora Angulo de Botero,
were both from the Andes region in Colombia.
At the age of twelve Fernando is sent to a bullfighting school for two years, but most of the time he prefers to make drawings of matadors.
For the first time Fernando Botero participates in an exhibition of artists from Antioquiá Province. He begins drawing
illustrations for the newspaper El Colombiano.
The influence of Mexican mural artists like José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros is visible in drawings
such as Woman Crying.
From his early years, Botero is impressed by the rich decorations, in the Colonial Baroque style, of churches and cloisters in and around
The artist is eager to learn more about modern art in Europe. When he writes an article entitled "Pablo Picasso and Nonconformity in Art,"
he is expelled from school.
He continues his schooling at the Liceo San José in Marinilla; after finishing school he begins making designs for the Lope de Vega
Theatre Company, a Spanish ensemble touring in Colombia.
Fernando Botero moves to the capital of Colombia, Bogotá. Here he presents his first solo exhibition at the Leo Matiz gallery. A
second exhibition in the same gallery shows his works made on the Caribbean coast.
Botero wins the second prize in the Salon of Colombian Artists in Bogotá for his painting Sulla costa. With the award money, Botero
decides to travel to Spain.
After a short visit to Barcelona, Botero moves to Madrid to become a student at the Academia de Bellas Artes San Fernando. He studies the
old masters at the Museo del Prado, such as Velàzquez, Goya, Tizian and Tintoretto - painters who prove to be a most important source of inspiration for Botero. From Madrid, he moves on to Paris, where he lives in a small apartment on Place des Vosges.
Continuing his travels through Europe, he comes to Florence, Italy. Botero becomes fascinated by the fresco paintings of the Italian
Renaissance and studies the fresco techniques. He travels around Tuscany on a motorbike to see the frescoes and paintings of artists
such as Piero della Francesca - notably in Arezzo - Uccello, Masaccio, and Andrea del Castagna.
Return to Bogotá, his Italian works are exhibited at the Biblioteca Nazionale. In December he gets married. The couple move to
Mexico City, where their son Fernando is born. Botero starts experimenting with dilating and expanding the volume of his motifs.
Botero paints his Still Life with Mandolin, he has discovered his own style. He has his first solo exhibition in the United States in
Washington, D.C. at the Pan-American Union. The artist visits museums in New York and discovers abstract expressionism. In May he returns
to Bogotá and receives the second prize at the X Salone columbiano.
Birth of his daughter Lina. The Bogotá Academia de Bellas Artes appoints Fernando Botero professor of painting, he will teach there
until 1960. He makes illustrations to a short story by Gabriel García Márquez and paints a large work inspired by the
Italian Renaissance artist Mantegna's frescoes in the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua. This painting is eventually exhibited at the Gres
Gallery in Washington. At the XI Salone columbiano, he receives the first prize with La camera degli sposi.
The painting Niño de Vallecas, inspired by Diego Velàzquez, is completed. Botero receives a Guggenheim prize and, together
with Enrique Grau, Alejandro Obregon and Eduardo Ramirez Villamizare, reprents his country at the Sao Paulo Biennial.
Fernando Botero paints his first large-scale fresco in the Banco Central in Medellín. His second son, Juan Carlos, is born in
Bogotá. Botero is nominated to represent his county at the II Biennale del Mexico, which causes violent opposition. The artist
moves to New York with very little money, rents a loft in Greenwich Village. Gres Gallery, which had up to that time supported and
helped him, closes. He divorces his wife.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires Botero's Mona Lisa, Age 12. His first exhibition in New York, at The Contemporaries, is
Botero continues to live in New York and participates in various exhibitions. He studies the art of the Flemish baroque painter Pieter
Paul Rubens, and paints pictures after his portraits of Hélène Fourment. In 1964, he marries Cecilia Zambrano.
The Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany, presents Botero's first major European exhibition. More exhibitions take place in
Munich and Hanover. The Milwaukee Art Center presents Recent Works by Botero, which is very positively reviewed by Time magazine.
After visiting Germany, Botero becomes fascinated by the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. He also studies Edouard Manet,
the French impressionist, and his painting Le déjeuner sur l'herbe.
Exhibitions at the Center for Inter-American Relations in New York and the Galerie Claude Bernard in Paris; again, German museums
organize exhibitions of his works. In 1970, his son Pedro is born in new York. In 1971, Botero rents an apartment in Paris, he divides
his time between Paris, Bogotá and his new studio in New York.
In Paris, Botero creates his first sculptures. He leaves New York for good, lives in Paris.
Pedro, the artist's son from his second marriage, is killed in a road accident in Spain at the age of four. Botero realizes many works
that commemorate his little son. He divorces Cecilia.
Botero produces twenty-five new sculptures. He marries Sophia Vari, a Greek artist, After a major retrospective at the Museum of
Contemporary Art in caracas, Botero receives the order "Andrés Bello" from the Venezuelan president. In 1977, he receives the
"Croce di Boyacá" from the government of Antioquia for his services to Columbia. He opens the room dedicated to his son Pedro
at the Museo di Antioquia with 17 works donated to the museum. For the first time, his sculptures are exhibited in Paris.
Various countries in Europe organize exhibitions of Botero's paintings and sculptures. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in
Washington presents a major retrospective. In 1981, a retrospective is shown in Tokyo and Osaka.
Acquisition of the Dance in Colombia by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Botero finds a studio in Pietrasanta, Italy, close to the Carrara marble quarries. For several months every year, he works with bronze
foundries and marble studios there.
Botero donates several sculptures to the Museo di Antioquia in Medellín and 18 paintings to the Museo Nacional di Bogotá.
He concentrates on the theme of the corrida, the Spanish style bullfight. In 1985, a series of 25 corrida paintings is presented at
Marlborough Gallery in New York.
A major retrospective is shown at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. A travelling exhibition titeled "Corrida" is shown at Naples,
Palermo and Caracas. A large open air sculpture show is mounted at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence, Italy. In 1991, a majow
retrospective is mounted by the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.
The open air sculpture show is repeated on the Champs Elysées in Paris, Monte Carlo and on Park Avenue in New York, followed by
Chicago. His corrida paintings are exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition "Botero in Madrid" includes a promenade of
his sculptures between the Museo del Prado, the Fundacion Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Reina Sofia. The monumental sculptures are
exhibited in cities all over Europe. Botero barely escapes being kidnapped in Bogotà.
Terrorists detonate a bomb under a bronze sculpture, Bird, by Botero in the central marketplace of his native town Medellín,
killing 23 people and wounding 200. Botero donates a new sculpture to be installed next to the remains of the destroyed one as a
message of peace.
Exhibitions of Botero's work take place at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile and at museums in Sao Paulo, Rio de
Janeiro, Montevideo and Monterrey. He also exhibits at Galleria Il Gabbiano, Rome, Galerie Thomas, Munich and Galleria Mario Sequeira,
Botero is invited to present a sculpture exhibition on the Piazza della Signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in the historical
heart of Florence.
The cities of Medellín and Bogotá receive donations of a large number of nineteenth- and twentieth century French paintings
from Botero's private collection.
Under the title "50 Años de vida artistica", Mexico City holds a retrospective of Botero's artistic activities. The Moderna Museet
in Stockholm shows a large Botero exhibition, which travels to the new Arken Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen.
The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Holland exhibits paintings, pastels, and sculptures by Fernando Botero. In Venice the monumental sculptures
are exhibited along the Grand Canal. The Musée Maillol in Paris presents a Botero exhibition.
Botero begins a new series of works inspired by reports about the mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. A
retrospective exhibition is shown in the Singapore Art Museum.
The Palazzo Venezia in Rome, Italy shows the first works of the Abu Ghraib series.
Kunsthalle Würth at Schwäbisch Hall organizes the first large-scale retrospective in Germany after twenty years.
A travelling exhibition is to be held at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and nine other American institutions
between Jan. 27, 2007 and Dec. 6, 2009.
Seven galleries with close ties to Botero, Contini Art Gallery, Venice; Galeria Freites, Caracas; Gary Nader Fine Art, Miami; Galeria
Fernando Pradilla, Madrid; Galeria el Museo, Bogotá; Tasende Gallery, West Hollywood and Galerie Thomas, Munich, honour
Fernando Botero on the occasion of his 75th birthday by opening simultaneous exhibitions of his work on April 19th.
In July, a major exhibition of Botero's works is opened at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, which will run to September of that year.
Botero lives in Paris, New York, Monte Carlo, and Pietrasanta. Living in his native country, Colombia has become too dangerous for him.