Exploring Botero’s Fat Sculptures in Medellin

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This week’s Photo of the Week is Botero’s rather painful looking sculpture Hombre Caminante. The Colombian artist has an accessible style that is popular with many people and I thought his work deserved a closer look.

Fernando Botero was born in Medellin in 1932 and he has since become famous across the world for his paintings, drawings and sculptures. In Medellin you can find his work everywhere, but the best place to start is Plaza Botero (Parque Berrio metro stop). Here you can enjoy many of his bulging sculptures of fat people and animals in the busy centre of the city along with a bustling crowd of Colombians.

Botero sculpture, Plaza de Botero, Medellin

Taking photos can be tricky as people are keen to have their photos taken with the impressive sculptures and you have to act fast to get a crowd-free shot.

Botero Cat sculpture, Medellin
Everyone else was doing it…

Nudity and animals feature heavily.

Botero sculpture, Medellin
Botero sculpture, Medellin
Botero sculpture, Medellin

All the sculptures are huge.

Botero's Sphinx, Medellin
Botero’s Sphinx
Botero horse sculpture, Medellin

Along with Colombian tourists and office workers on their lunch break, the plaza is home to a vibrant mix of street vendors. You can buy ice-creams, hats, juice and best of all, delicious pots of sliced fresh fruit for only 1000 pesos ($0.50). The mango is particularly tasty.

Simon eating mango in Plaza Botero, Medellin
Simon and the tasty mango

Once you’ve taken in all of the sculptures the Museo de Antioquia is located right on the square and has a huge collection of Botero paintings and drawings – many of them donated by the artist himself.

Botero painting, Museo de Antioquia, Medellin

It’s interesting to see the development of his work and enjoy the 2D versions of his famous style. Yes, most of the paintings are of fat people; you’ll even find a Fat Jesus! Another well-known work depicts the death of Pablo Escobar in one of a number of paintings about the violence in Colombia.


  1. I fell in love with Botero’s work in the 1970s, and have been following his creations ever since. Here’s a photo I took at the Time-Warner Center in NYC several years ago. I try to give my own interpretive expression to sculptures I love — hence the unusual angle. I’ve already scheduled a trip to Medellin for Jan 2014, and I can’t wait to see all of those Boteros.

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  2. Hi,
    I lived in Madrid for a few months in 1994, and one day, I stumbled across the Botero sculptures exhibition in Paseo de Recoletas, quite by chance. I was blown away! I went back time and again, and took my parents when they flew over for a visit. I remember the reclining female nude with the worn bits where everyone’d had a rub! What I really loved about them was that they were out in the open, you were allowed to touch them/climb on them, whatever – it made it so accessible, and I’ll never forget it! Thanks for posting your images, it was a lovely reminder of a great time :)

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  3. I thought he only engaged himself to fat human sculptures, but he also have those fat animal sculptures as well. I like how he give beautiful touch to these masterpiece.

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  4. These sculptures are awesome. I love the horse one… it looks so cute!

    Totally off subject but you should try it. Put chili powder on your fruit. It taste SOOO good. If you have never heard of it or seen it done before wait until you get to Mexico (if you do). Oh man it is so good makes me want to go get a fruit cup with chili.

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    • That sounds totally weird but we’ll have to try it when we get to Mexico. I hear they put chili on popcorn too! We had a Mexican girl couchsurf with us once and she gave us a lolly pop (i.e candy) covered in chilli – it was a bit odd =)

      Here they offered me salt on my mango but it’s tasty enough as it is.

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      • Sorry Im laughing at your comment because I KNOW exactly what lolly pop you are talking about. The best one is the watermelon lolly pop covered in cilli. They have all types of flavors. I think chilli on stuff is a big thing in Mexico. We put it on fruit, on candy, on certain types of ice creams, on corn & so many other things. I guess if you didn’t grow up with it would be odd, but I promise you that you will love it.

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  5. We had not heard of Botero before reading this post, but the sculptures are really cool. Medellin sounds like such a nice place, I can see us stay there for a while…

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    • Medellin does have a lot of good points – the Botero sculptures are definitely worth seeing. It feels very different from everywhere else we’ve been in South America though – more modern and Americanised.

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