Artwork of the month June

Fernando Botero, Reclining Woman, 1993

Fernando Botero


* 1932 in Medellín, Kolumbien


 Reclining Woman, 1993


Bronze
134.6 x 349.3 x 167.6 cm
Ed. 1/3
KML 02.10 Donation of the Lampadia Foundation, Vaduz, in memoriam Bob Glynn, President, 2002

Fernando Botero, arguably Latin America's most renowned artist, started out as an illustrator in the late 1940s before travelling to Madrid in 1952 where he studied at the art academy. He was primarily interested in the Old Masters whose influence has been seminal to his work. On study visits to important museums, he acquired a visual repertoire that has left an enduring mark on his oeuvre.

This applies to his larger­than­life and characteristically ample nude of 1993, reclining on her back, hands crossed under her head, right leg bent, the other stretched out. She is lying comfortably and casually on a blanket, its folds billowing over the longitudinal sides of the plinth. The ordinary, familiar motif is firmly rooted in the history of art, as seen, for instance, in representations of Venus by Titian or Rubens. There, the goddess appears as a subtly erotic, mysterious and deeply centred woman. However, Botero's dreamily soporific figure also calls to mind Psyche, who is punished for her love of Amor by being thrown into a deathlike sleep. She is the embodiment of longing, passion and – like Venus – sublime beauty.

Botero deliberately references established motifs, evoking the significance of their original context and putting it up for debate. Grace and beauty turn into surfeit and gluttony. His critique of decadence, early on in his career, reveals his stand as a political artist. Voluptuous, quintessentially Baroque shapes are his style of choice. Significantly, the proportions aren't quite right, not only of the figure herself but also of the sculpture as a whole, since the plinth on which she is lying is barely big enough for her. In addition, the artist emphasises the overall surface impact rather than focusing on the elaboration of detail. The work illustrates Botero's ability to lend his art an ambiguity that oscillates between almost naively droll representations and social criticism.

 

<b>Fernando Botero, Reclining Woman, 1993</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.