Saturday, January 30, 2010
She's a Big Gal: Fernando Botero's "Woman Smoking a Cigarette"
We crossed Tampa Bay to spend an afternoon and evening at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg with the Friends of Photography. This small but special group of men and women of all ages brings a passion to their interest in the history of photography, photographers and the medium since its very beginnings in the 19th century. We gathered just before the closing of an exhibit called the Legends of Photography. Many familiar and famous names were represented on the walls. Afterward we gathered at a fine restaurant to continue our great discussion. The group includes some collectors, several well-known photographers, those just started to explore photography, spouses, friends and young couples. I was really looking forward to going because of the unprecedented exhibition at the museum, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. (It runs through April 4.)
A Latin American painter, sculptor, and draftsman , Botero depicts the "comedy of human life—moving or ironic, baroque in expression, sometimes with a mocking observation, and sometimes with a deep, elementary emotion. He has created a world of his own with a particular blend of violence and beauty." This is the first retrospective of his work in North America since 1974. Included are 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings selected from the artist’s private collection. Many works have never been exhibited in public. (The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. John Sillevis from the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, curated the exhibition. )
On the grounds of the museum, located on Beach Drive facing the Vinoy Basin, are three of Botero's largest and best known sculptures. This greatly oversized bronze figure, created in 1987, is called Women Smoking a Cigarette. She is magnificent as are all of his sculptures. Smoking Woman weighs approximately 2,500 pounds!! You've just got to love her. I'll post one or two more in the days ahead.