Reactions to the death of the most universal Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, have not stopped coming since his passing on September 15th. The world mourns the loss of the creator of voluminous figures that were his personal, internationally recognizable signature and a source of pride for his homeland.
Three Days of Mourning in Colombia
Colombia, his home country, has declared three days of national mourning. In a decree signed by the Minister of Culture, Juan David Correa, three days of national mourning are established, and it is ordered that the Colombian flags be flown at half-mast in all public buildings in the country and in embassies and consular offices abroad.
Hours earlier, the Ministry of Culture had posted a message on its social media lamenting the death of the artist from Antioquia. “Minculturas joins the mourning of the country and the art world for the passing of artist Fernando Botero. His depiction of the country and its people, its customs, and even its violence, placed Colombia on the world’s great art stages for decades,” wrote the Colombian ministry.
In the same vein, the President of the Republic expressed his condolences early on the morning of Friday, September 15th. Petro, who is in Cuba to attend the G-77 Summit, wrote on Twitter, “Fernando Botero has passed away, the painter of our traditions and flaws, the painter of our virtues. The painter of our violence and peace. The dove, a thousand times rejected and a thousand times placed on its throne.”
Leaders of All Ideologies Mourn His Death
The city of Medellin, where the artist was born in 1932, has declared an official week of mourning. The mayor, Daniel Quintero, also expressed his sorrow at the death of his fellow countryman. Likewise, figures from various fields in the country, regardless of their political ideology, have dedicated messages of condolences in memory of the artist whom everyone acknowledges as Colombia’s most universal artist of all time.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos also wanted to join the condolences for the passing of his “great friend” and wrote a message on Twitter. “We deeply regret the passing of Fernando Botero, one of Colombia’s and the world’s greatest artists. Always generous with his country, a great friend and passionate peacemaker. Our sincere condolences to his entire family,” wrote Santos.
Other politicians, such as former Presidents Iván Duque, Álvaro Uribe, and Andrés Pastrana, joined in sending condolences for the loss of a national icon of Colombia, both within and beyond its borders.
The World of Culture
Artist Édgar H. Álvarez, known for his work on “¿Se lo explico con plastilina?” (“Shall I Explain It to You with Clay?”), which is very popular on social media, was among the first to react. He publicly mourned the master’s passing with one of his original clay creations.
Latin America Mourns the Artist
Similarly, the world has also mourned the death of Fernando Botero and expressed condolences to his family and Colombia. Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have conveyed their condolences, highlighting the artist’s work and his contribution to the prestige of Latin American art in the world.
Mexico’s Ministry of Culture issued a statement reading, “The Ministry of Culture of Mexico regrets the passing of Colombian painter, sculptor, and draftsman Fernando Botero, an iconic artist of the world whose work is an essential reference.” Later, Mexico’s Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto, also posted her condolences on her social media. “One of the most prominent artists in Latin America, who bravely broke barriers and created a new aesthetic conception. Farewell, Fernando Botero; Colombia and Mexico mourn your passing,” wrote Frausto.
Condolences from Around the World
Condolences from all corners of the world have reached Colombia. From Spain, the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, wrote, “I deeply regret the passing of Fernando Botero. His work and immense talent will continue to live on in Madrid. Rest in peace,” attaching his message to an image of one of the Colombian artist’s works located in the public space of the Spanish capital.
Media outlets in Spain, France, and Italy, the latter being the country where the Colombian artist lived for a while and developed his style, have highlighted Botero’s passing in their news headlines. “Fernando Botero, the most universal Colombian artist, has died,” wrote El País from Spain. “Fernando Botero, the famous Colombian painter and sculptor, has passed away at the age of 91,” Le Monde of France reported. “Fernando Botero, artist famous for his voluminous human figures, has died,” stated Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera.
It is worth noting that Fernando Botero’s work can be found in many places, and visitors to major cities recognize and admire the personal style of the Colombian master who has left behind an artistic legacy that will endure for generations.