Monday, February 01, 2010
The Little Woman Atop Her Mighty (strong) Steed: Botero's Rape of Europa
While visiting the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts last Sunday, we got to get up close and personal to three monumental bronze sculptures created by Fernando Botero. These huge sculptures are part of the exhibition, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. Botero, born in Columbia in 1932, created "The Rape of Europa" in 1999. That's one fine looking little woman atop that steed. Right? She and her animal weigh approximately 2,500 pounds!
Her is what USA Today Magazine wrote about Botero in August 2008: Botero converted his painterly ideas into "bronze and marble sculpture, which have become a seminal element in his oeuvre. His monumental bronzes are seen by perplexed strollers along the Champs Elysées in Paris, in front of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and along Park Avenue in New York. The large figures transform their surroundings into a world of fantasy, as seen in Venice where his bronzes adorn the squares along the Grand Canal, or when his sensuous nudes are mirrored in the reflecting pools in front of the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.
The Piti is a fantastic place to see Botero's work. The last time I was there I enjoyed a Bristish car show lined up on the sidewalk out front. (Our son studied architercture there and actually lived in the buiding directly across from the Piti. A favorite coffee shop is right there, the Bar Piti. (Oh what a great city!!)
The subjects of his sculpture - The Baroque World of Fernando Botero - includes a selection of recent sculptures never before shown in North America. They "draw from ancient Greek mythology,' points out Miranda Lash, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art....Zeus reappears again in 'Rape of Europa' (1999) as Europa's comically placid and portly steed. The soon-to-be ravished Europa sits proudly on the back of the bull, seductively in control, an attitude assumed by many of the women in Botero's sculptures. ..."
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."
The current show in St. Petersburg 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. ) This show at the MFA runs through April 4th.
Botero's works are collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Hermitage Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn and others.