Y Tho?
September 15, 2023 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Fernando Botero has died.

You may not be familiar with the rest of this artist's work, but if you've been around the internet since 2014, it's unlikely you won't have seen this.

Botero was more than just a painter and sculptor of comically rotund figures though; much of his work was highly political (previously), reflecting the political turmoil of South America in the 1960s and 70s, the impact of drugs on his native country, Colombia, and the horrors of Abu Graib. In this paper (.pdf) his son, Juan Carlos, analyses the social and cultural impact of his father's work. His style greatly influenced the work of British painter Beryl Cook (comparison of paintings in link).

I love his sculptures, they're so sensual, almost inviting the viewer to touch and stroke them.

For most of us, though, he will forever be known as the Y Tho artist.
posted by essexjan (26 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I walk past this one fairly often, it’s lovely.

And I think this one is also a Botero, but I’m not absolutely certain.
posted by chavenet at 11:11 AM on September 15


I must be uncool because I'd never see Y Tho, but I remember discovering his work in the 80s and being charmed and delighted by it. His sculptures are especially wonderful.
posted by pangolin party at 11:11 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]

posted by Kattullus at 11:12 AM on September 15

posted by phunniemee at 11:14 AM on September 15 [24 favorites]

posted by supermedusa at 11:39 AM on September 15


I never got his work at all, until I saw one of the birds in person. The combination of heft and lightness was astonishing.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:44 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


His museums in Bogotá and Medellin are well worth the visit, as are the sculptures in Medellin, which are still scarred by bombs.
posted by nikoniko at 12:01 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

posted by jedicus at 12:01 PM on September 15

I was confused why the Guardian obituary would not mention Botero's Internet/memetic fame, but I just wasn't looking closely enough!

"In Europe in the early 1950s, Botero lived first in Madrid, then Paris, but perhaps the most formative period of his early career came in Florence, where he spent two years studying the Italian masters, especially those of the quattrocento such as Masaccio, Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca."
posted by bigendian at 12:31 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]


I always enjoyed the Boteros on display at Columbus circle mall in NYC. I'll take this chance to solemnly repeat one of my favorite art jokes: Inside every Botero is a Giacometti waiting to get out.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 12:45 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]

posted by May Kasahara at 12:57 PM on September 15

I have always loved the whimsical nature of his sculptures. Walking around a city and just stumbling on one is always a joy.
posted by davebarnes at 1:01 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

I am drawn to the human sculptures more than the animal one. Maybe it's because it makes me stop and think...
posted by mightshould at 1:56 PM on September 15

posted by MonsieurPEB at 3:31 PM on September 15

I have seen so much of his work and was unaware of his name. It takes such talent to play with proportion and maintain the amount of life you see in his sculptures.
posted by q*ben at 4:41 PM on September 15

His art is wonderful.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 5:27 PM on September 15

There's one of his super-chonky equestrian sculptures in Clayton, MO that just shines. I love it.

mefi's own TimTypeZed makes some lovely Botero-like artwork
posted by scruss at 5:30 PM on September 15

His Leda sculpture is interesting (kinda nsfw).
posted by ovvl at 5:53 PM on September 15

I will always appreciate his work, if only for this meme.
posted by brundlefly at 7:31 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:00 AM on September 16

Really enjoyed his work. I had the opportunity to see Death of Pablo Escobar at the Museo de Antioquia in Medellin.
posted by emd3737 at 5:18 AM on September 16

I also like the Adam and Eve at Columbus Circle. You can walk right up and touch them, which is why Adam's little pecker is as shiny as Abe Lincoln's nose.
posted by phooky at 6:20 AM on September 16 [2 favorites]

(It's really stunning how people just can't keep away from the bronze dong.)
posted by phooky at 6:22 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]

One of the things I love about bronze public sculptures is how they reveal where people touch them most. The Molly Malone statue in Dublin is weathered bronze, except for her bust - which, like Adam's dong, has been so polished by peoples' hands that it shines like gold.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 1:13 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]

You can see your reflection in the Charging Bull's balls.
posted by phooky at 5:23 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]

Didn't know Botero's name before, but his style is instantly recognizable. Adam is at 2nd and Madison in Seattle, sibling to the one phooky knows.
posted by cult_url_bias at 7:45 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]

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