Bogota, Colombia – The remains of artist Fernando Botero, who died in Monaco on Friday at the age of 91, will be interred in Colombia so that he can be remembered as one of the most important painters and sculptors of the 20th century before his funeral. Italy, his family reported Monday.
“We will take my father to Colombia to say a final farewell, first to Bogota and then to Medellín” (Northwest), his son Juan Carlos Botero told Colombia’s Blu Radio.
In a statement cited by local media, his family assured that his body would arrive in the capital on Thursday before being transferred to his hometown, where several events are expected to be held to commemorate Colombia’s most famous painter. and sculptor. world.
The artist, who said he wanted to be taken back to his country after his death, was at his residence in Monaco when his health deteriorated due to pneumonia, according to his son.
“We are doing everything possible to fulfill his last wishes (…) He wanted to say goodbye to his people (…) He is grateful to the Colombian people,” he added.
Botero is admired in Medellín for his efforts to make art more accessible to the masses, donating dozens of works to museums and parks and charting the history of a city hit by drug trafficking at the end of the last century.
“He never asked for a tribute,” but “people wanted to say goodbye to him and he wanted to say goodbye to his people, and that’s understandable,” Juan Carlos Botero added.
After a wake in Colombia, his body will be cremated and then transported to the Italian town of Pietrasanta to be buried next to his wife, the Greek artist Sophia Vari, who died in May 2023.
Botero is one of the most famous Colombians in the world, along with Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. His sensual, slightly surreal works have fetched up to $4.3 million at auction at the most prestigious galleries in cities such as New York and London.
Her daughter, Lina Botero, told the media that she continued to paint watercolors until her last days, “without oils because she had difficulty standing up.”
On the day of Botero’s death, Medellín announced seven days of mourning in memory of Botero, whose paintings and sculptures were exhibited in Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Singapore and Venice.