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Santa Juana, 2015Oil on canvas 78 d x 38 1/2 w in. 198 d x 98 w cm
Santa Juana is a colossal portrait of patron Saint Juana that exemplifies Botero’s endless fascination with the age-old tradition of the female form. This classical depiction of a saint with a golden halo above her head is rendered in Botero’s signature robust ‘Boterismo’ technique, paying homage to his European predecessors in a distinct Latin American style. He reworks the historical genre in a limited palette of brilliant greens and vibrant oranges. Juana’s exaggerated voluptuous figure itself is a site of experimentation with form because it allows Botero to apply more color with a sensuality and profusion of form. This oil on canvas painting is both satirical and graceful, as the piece enchants and engages the viewer through art historical references of saints, the female form, and religious artworks, themes dating back through time.
The whimsical proportions of Saint Juana are mirrored in Botero’s 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.