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Venus, 1997
Graphite on amate on paper
20 1/4 h x 15 5/8 w in
51.5 h x 39.7 w cm

Venus is a portrait of Venus and baby Cupid that exemplifies Botero’s endless fascination with the age-old tradition of the female form. Venus is a fleshy eroticized figure with large rounded proportions leaning against a bureau while a cupid holding a bow and arrow runs by her feet. This classical depiction of nude Venue and cupid is rendered in Botero’s rotund technique, paying homage to his European predecessors in a distinct Latin American style. Drawing reclining and standing nudes since he began to paint, he’s mastered infusing figure’s volume with themes of sensuality. The exaggerated shape of her body is a site for experimentation, as it allows Botero to apply delicate shading with a sensuality and profusion of form. The details of her bracelet, necklace, earrings, and hair bow create an extravagant ambiance of an important woman. This graphite on paper piece is both satirical and graceful, as it enchants and engages the viewer through art historical references of the female form, a theme dating back through time.

Botero’s works on paper have grown in demand over the years. The whimsical 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. His mastery of voluptuous fleshy figures has become his trademark style and is immediately recognizable as Botero’s creations around the world.