Fernando Botero was born in 1932 in Medellin, Antioquia. He moved to Bogotá in 1951 where he first came into contact with the avant-garde through the intellectual circle of Cafe El Automático. He then travelled to Madrid to study at the Academia San Fernando and the Prado Museum before relocating in Italy to study art history with Roberto Longhi at the University of Florence.
His learning of classical European painting was instrumental to the development of his distinctive figurative style of voluminous and inflated forms, and satirical figures. He has traditionally worked in the mediums of painting and drawing but since the 1970s he has also produced large bronze sculptures. The subject matter of his work contains classical canons of beauty usually combined with references to the local customs of his native country. His explorations of subject matters through his work include Latin-American daily life, followed by bullfight scenes and violence topics such as Abu Ghraib tortures, as well as comical depictions of the circus, famed portraits and references to the history of western art. In 2000 he donated more than 200 personal works and over 100 works from masters such as Picasso, Dali, Monet, Matisse, and Rauschenberg to Colombian institutions. His work is in public collections such as MoMa, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Hermitage. He currently lives and works in Pietrasanta, Paris and New York.