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Rapto d'Europa, 2014Bronze 24 h x 17.75 w x 11.88 d in. 61 h x 45 w x 30 d cm
Fortunately, my subjects have been very limited. In the history of sculpture, eighty percent of the subject matter has been a woman, either reclining standing or seated. It is a great tribute paid to the most beautiful form of nature. The interesting thing is that in returning to the same subject, you always say something different. This is one of the charms, one of the limitations and one of the difficulties that I describe in being a sculptor. You have to truly be original each time. -Fernando Botero, Botero in Washington, Washington, D.C., 1996
Rapturo d’Europa is a stunning bronze sculpture of a mythological subject, the abduction of Europe. According to myth, Zeus metamorphosed into a beautiful white bull and approached young Europe while she collected flowers with her maidens on the beach. When she noticed the bull, she caressed it and sat on top of the animal, only to be carried away by Zeus into rough waters to the island of Crete, where he made her the first queen of the island.
Rapturo d’Europa is a tabletop sculpture of a sitting nude on a bull that exemplifies Botero’s endless fascination with the age-old tradition of the female form. This classical depiction of a nude and animal is rendered in Botero’s rotund technique of ‘Boterismo,’ paying homage to his European predecessors in a distinct Latin American style. The fleshy eroticized figure with large rounded proportions exemplifies Botero’s mastery of emphasis on volume and sensuality of form. This bronze sculpture of Zeus’s seduction and capture of Europe is both satirical and graceful, as it enchants and engages the viewer through art historical references of the female form, myths, and sculpture, themes dating back through time.
The whimsical proportions of Rapturo d’Europa are mirrored in Botero’s other bronze sculptures of people and animals, such as Woman on Horse and Maternity. Botero’s monumental public sculptures can be found on the streets of New York and Paris, among others. His mastery of voluptuous fleshy figures has become his trademark style and is immediately recognizable as Botero’s creations around the world.