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Cantante, 2014Mixed media on canvas 46 7/8 h x 39 3/8 w in 119 h x 100 w cm
Cantante is a beautiful mixed media on canvas work that exemplifies Botero’s fascination with whimsical forms. Drawing from art history, Botero synthesized the art historical genres of female form and entertainment with contemporary elements and themes from contemporary Latin American life, such as singing performances. Cantante depicts a concert by a robust singer with four male musicians behind her, all with amusing proportions of small hands and eyes. The voluptuous singer with a raised hand stands before her musicians, each with a different instrument, playing music on the stage behind her.
Botero renders the performers and their musical instruments, a set of drums, guitar, piano and trumpet, in his signature rotund technique of ‘Boterismo.’ The exaggerated figures and objects are sites of experimentation, as they allow Botero to apply more color and delicate shading with a sensuality and profusion of form. Like many of Botero’s works on paper, this piece doesn’t contain a finished background, but rather several outlines and shadows to create dimension, focusing the viewer on the figures. Botero masterfully creates a composition full of motion, movement, and excitement with exuberant colors and careful forms of human positions, a method also seen in his other performance works, Clown con Palla, Pas de Deux, and Ballerini.
Botero’s works on paper have grown in demand over the years. The bodies in the drawings retain their robust forms with all the gracefulness of Botero’s paintings, but are smaller and more approachable in his drawings. These fleshy yet innocent figures are rendered with skills of a master artist.