Blog #8 Latin America

Fernando Botero
Circus Act, 2008

Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932 and is considered Latin America’s most famous and most beloved artist. He is a painter, sculptor, and draftsman and he was influenced heavily by both native and colonial art and architecture.

His Circus Series clearly shows his extravagantly rounded, robust forms that he is renowned for. They are recognizable around the world.

 I loved the whole Circus Series but the one I chose to post on here, Circus Act,  especially appealed to me. Although the woman is obviously a circus performer she is so serious and soulful. In all of his circus paintings the people are never smiling and their gaze is always distant as if they have a lot on their minds. Although the costumes are vibrant making the paintings appear colourful and bright the paintings are actually quite muted and sombre. In this painting there is strange vulnerability about the performer. Her small eyes, especially when compared to the largeness of the rest of her body, appear somewhat fearful to me. Although this painting is rather melancholy portraying the performers loneliness, it also has a certain humour about it due to the unique distinctive exaggerated human form.



  1. Chelsea Wilkes Said:

    One I first saw this picture, I have to admit that I started chuckling over it. Then reading your blog, I realized it looks as if it is supposed to be somber but I still couldn’t help but laugh. I think the ironic part is that usually the rope swingers in a circus are tiny and itty bitty and this is just the opposite. But I have to agree with you on the eyes, she does look quite fearful. Her eyes remind me of the Chinese Gymnast who have no say in what they do, they are just forced to do it if they like it or not. This is how she looks, she isn’t enjoying it but is forced to do it. I wonder what the significance of the man underneath her is? Great blog.

  2. endodds Said:

    This painting does indeed have an interesting mood about it. Like you said, somber yet the colors are that of a circus, so vibrant. The painting also leads the eye diagonally trough the woman’s body to the mans head and back up to her to the two lights. I wonder what all this means?
    And it is strange, having such a large woman performing a circus act, a strange juxtaposition!
    And, (lol), is the man staring fascinatingly at her, or is he looking up her skirt?
    It seems that Botero was actually trying to make a serious statement out of this seemingly comedic painting. Perhaps about the role of servitude of women?
    Anyway, I’m glad I got to read a blog on a Colombian artist! I’m not really familiar with most Non-Western art, so this project is really beneficial for me!
    Great blog, keep up the good work!

  3. I found that the combination of the woman’s large physical size and the tones of color and the eyes and all worked to create her as having her own subjectivity within the painting. Like you are looking at her and actually seeing her, a real human with a name and hopes and fears and dreams, rather than the entertainment object that circus performers perform as or the (often sex) object-of-the-gaze that women are often cast as.
    Thanks for writing. Good info.

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