Rome hosts Botero’s first great retrospective in Italy. In the works of the artist, the fabulous nostalgia for a world that no longer exists.


Seated woman, Fernando Botero, 1997

Seated woman, Fernando Botero, 1997

Rome hosts the first great retrospective on Botero. At the Vittoriano, 50 masterpieces loaned from around the world rewrite the career of the artist. Botero, known all over the world for its unique and unmistakable style, has in fact chosen Italy’s capital to celebrate with a great retrospective its 85 birthday. On display we find the first work exhibited in 1950 as well as the last work, realised in 2016.

The journey into the dreamy universe of the artist begins outside the exhibition, in front of the giant sculpture Horse with bridle that welcomes the visitor anticipating the atmosphere they will find inside.

We are in Botero’s universe. Plump figures smile at us – or maybe they do not ? -bringing us with them in a warm, nostalgic and primitive dimension.


Portraits, animals, still life. No matter what the subject is, what immediately distinguishes a Botero are the decided styles and the brilliant colours. Botero’s style is not, however, given only by the rounded and soft traits of the figures, or by the brilliance of the colours. What makes it unique is the artist’s look. A distant gaze that doesn’t investigate the psychic dimension of his characters, but portrays them in their daily life with the disruptive effect of making them seem absolutely trivial, in their place but at the same time out of place, in some way atypical.

Botero draws full hands from the Latin American world into his works, into the scenes of everyday life, refining his poetry over the years, as in the Atelier of Sartoria or At the End of the Feast.

In my paintings,” says Botero, “there’s a world I knew when I was very young, back in my land. It’s a kind of nostalgia, and I have made it the central in my work.


Sisters, Fernando Botero 1969 – 2005

Sisters, Fernando Botero 1969 – 2005

The first section of the exhibition is a tribute to the great masters of painting: Velazquez, Piero della Francesca, Rubens, Raffaello. Botero doesn’t imitate, he recreates the great masterpieces by giving birth to his own characters, which of the famous painters reproduce the spirit, and not without irony. The visitor is welcomed by The Diptych of Piero della Francesca (Duke of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and his wife Battista Sforza), by Fornarina of Raffaello, by L’Infanta Margherita Teresa of Velasquez.


Still life with a balcony, Fernando Botero, 2000

Still life with a balcony, Fernando Botero, 2000

The second section of the exhibition is dedicated to still life: fruits, musical instruments, bottles and carafe, to which Botero gave his typical rounded shape, making them somehow alive. Even here, Botero has been inspired by the great masters, choosing the most famous for their still life, with a clear glance to Cèzanne and de Zurbaràn.



The third section is dedicated to religion. Botero surprise us, plunging his characters into a world that defeats the supernatural. The very supernatural practice impregnates everyday life and turns it into surprise. In front of The sleepy Cardinal, Nunzio or The Walk on the Hill, the visitor can’t help but smile.

Botero has also been involved in the representation of the Christ, with a series of works realised between 2010 and 2011, recently exhibited in “La via Cruicis” at Palazzo delle Esposizioni. Even in the power-related paintings – which characterise the political section – Botero, while describing military, ministers, presidents, and ambassadors, doesn’t let their point of view leap. The artist is rather attracted by the opulence of the dresses and the glamor of environments, as in The President and his ministers.



The latest halls are dedicated to nude women and circus, two of artist’s favorite themes, documented on display with several works.

Gestures, movements, colours that represent the daily lives of the circus, both effortless and convivial, are masterly represented in Pierrot, The Contorsionist, The Musicians and The Clown. The circus, as the place of astonishment par excellence, couldn’t not find a place in the artist’s world.

Even the feminine nude is represented by the artist with an exquisite grace. Despite the round and generous shapes, Botero’s women are endowed with infinite grace, as in the painting The bath or in Adam and Eve.

According to Rudy Chiappini, curator of the exhibition, Botero “has a polar star recognition and consistency, remaining faithful to a style and painting that has become unmistakable.” “If at first sight – continues Chiappini – what strikes us is the unmistakable style, we must imagine that beyond the perfection and elegance of an ever-measured language is the anxiety of a lifetime, the fullness of a participation. Sentimental yet never screamed, but not for that less intense. “


Botero, Vittoriano complex until August 27, 2017


From Monday to Thursday 9.30am – 7.30pm

Friday and Saturday 9.30am – 10pm

Sunday 9.30am – 8.30pm


Full € 12,00

Reduced € 10,00


Via di San Pietro in Carcere, 00186 Rome

+39 06 678 0664

Info and reservations + 39 06 87 15 111

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