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Art Appreciation

February 12 2008 Art Appreciation Newsletter

What do Fernando Botero, Francisco de Goya, and Pablo Picasso have in common besides speaking Spanish?

They have all expressed the horrors of war through their paintings.
Goya's work, "The Shootings of the Third of May" (1814) was symbolic of the struggle of the people of Madrid against Napoleon's army.
This painting now resides at The Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

Pablo Picasso painted "Guernica" to represent the incident when Nazi Germans bombed Guernica, Spain in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. This colossal painting now resides at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain.

Many years later, the Columbian artist, Fernado Botero (born in 1932) would follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. Outraged against the human violence that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003, Botero would paint some very controversial works.

Botero is best known for his sculptures of fat people. He denies the obvious and declares that instead, they are "inflated torsos" and that they are meant to "devour space and create calm." Whichever way you interpret his work, it is usually whimsical and humorous. The Abu Ghraib series is quite the opposite. Some critics have denounced the paintings as being Anti-American. Botero says he did the series as a testimony and that "these are things that have to be seen." The Abu Ghraib series is not for sale and is part of the artist's private collection. They were on display in November 2006 at the Marlborough gallery in New York.

Perhaps Botero will join Goya and Picasso in the history books as painting the horrors of war.
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