Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero is well known for his distinctive style. This style saw him create exaggerated figures for his subjects, often labeled as “fat.” He has generously donated much of his work to Colombia, and many of his works are on display at the Botero Museum in Bogotá, free to enjoy by the public. Read on for a complete visitors guide to the Bogotá Botero Museum.
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Botero was born in Medellín in 1932. He won his first major award in 1958, and quickly became well known nationally and internationally. You can see his works on display in New York and Paris. He has tons of paintings as well as sculptures.
He is most well known for his unique style using exaggerated proportions to depict his subjects’ figures. This leads many to term his style as painting “fat” people. This style helps to give many of his paintings a humorous, almost satirical vibe.
While most of his works are abstract and depict daily life, Botero has also painted about contemporary events and politics. He has painted portraits of Colombian guerillas, and one of his most famous works shows the killing of Pablo Escobar. He also did a series of paintings on the accusations of torture in the US run Abu Ghraib Prison.
Botero has donated much of his work to Colombia. You can, for example, see his famous statue of the Mujer Reclinada, (aka the fat lady) in Santo Domingo Plaza in Cartagena, and there is an entire plaza full of his sculptures in Medellín.
The Botero Museum in Bogotá
However, the largest collection of his works is at the Bogotá Botero Museum. Run by the Colombian National Bank (Banco de la Republica), the museum is free to enter. There are 123 Botero pieces on display in a beautiful colonial era house.
There are two floors, each with several exhibit rooms. Some of my favorite pieces on display were the depiction of the earthquake in Popayán, a piece with a skeleton playing guitar, and the several examples of men on horseback.
Particularly neat as well, is the display of some early works and sketches. There is a room of some of his smaller sculptures as well. Of course my mom loved the cat sculpture and had to get a small replica one as a souvenir.
There are a few rooms displaying other Latin American and international artists as well. All of these are from Botero’s personal collection. The highlights include a sweet Dalí painting as well as works from Picasso and Monet.
You can also head over to the adjacent mint museum and learn about the history of Colombian coin making.
Planning Your Visit to the Botero Museum
- Monday and Wednesday-Saturday: 9 am to 7 pm
- Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm
- Last entry 30 minutes before close
- Closed on Tuesdays
- Admission to the museum is always free
How to Get There
The museum is located on Calle 11 between Carrera 4 and 5, three blocks from Bolívar Plaza. From the plaza, with your back to the capital building, head right along Calle 11.
Tours that Include the Botero Museum
It is not necessary to have a tour or guide, however there are some city tours of Bogotá that include the Botero Museum.
Option 1: Private Botero Museum Guided Tour
If you’d like to have a guide along to tell you about Botero, his life, and the significance of the works, this tour is a great option to learn more during your visit to the museum. It includes transportation to and from your hotel and a 3 hour tour of the museum.
Option 2: Full Day Tour All Inclusive City Tour
This tour takes you up Monserrate Hill, a walking tour of the historic Candelaria neighborhood and its neat street art, and to both the Botero and Gold Museums. Transportation from your hotel as well as lunch are included, making this a good way to see the city’s best attractions in one day.
There you have it, a complete visitors guide to the Bogotá Botero Museum. Considering it’s free, I highly encourage you to see it during your time in Bogotá. If you do decide to go, I hope this guide helped you plan your visit and that you enjoy it!
Cheers and Happy Exploring!
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You may also be interested in these other posts on Bogotá:
Visitors Guide to the Bogotá Gold Museum
Explore Bogota’s Chapel in the Sky – Visitor’s Guide to Monserrate
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Ultimate Guide to Palomino, Colombia’s Hippest Beach Town
Comprehensive Guide to Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Explore Colombia’s Amazon – Travel Guide to Leticia, Colombia
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