Medellin bids farewell to his favorite son, artist Botero

Medellin, Colombia. About a thousand people said goodbye this Tuesday Fernando Botero in his hometown of MedellinIt is the final stop of a memorial service for one of the most important Latin American artists of the 20th century, before he will be buried in Italy.

The coffin arrived in the Colombian city in a black car. He was received by the military in Piazza Botero next to the Antioquia Museum, a complex housing hundreds of paintings and bronze sculptures donated by artists to the former drug-trafficking complex The center of activity of the city.

Medellin (northwest) begins three days of mourning before the burial of the artist’s body in Pietrasanta, In northern Italy, he and his wife, the Greek artist Sophia Vari, died in May.

Dozens of his admirers took the opportunity to take photos with Botero’s work. Others queued patiently to say a final goodbye to the “maestro” who died of pneumonia in Monaco on September 15 at the age of 91.

“In my opinion this is an important event for the city, more than anything because it is a cultural reference (…) I know the impact it has on the city, mainly it The work that was done at the time. “Medellín was in such a state,” Juan Pablo Góngora, 20, told AFP. Violence. “

“It’s like a thank you for everything he’s done for the city,” the college student added.

Botero’s remains will remain at the Antioquia Museum on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will be cremated Thursday following a Catholic ceremony.

In the 1980s and 1990s, as Botero rose to worldwide fame, Medellín became the center of an urban war involving the then-powerful Medellín drug cartel, led by drug trafficker Pablo Es. Pablo Escobar, who was shot dead by police in 1993.

During this period, nearly 7,000 people died as a result of drug-trafficking violence.

For retired administrator May Pérez, Botero “was a diplomat of Colombian culture. He never stopped depicting customs, life, positive and negative[things]: war, peace, poverty, wealth.”

In the morning, hundreds of admirers gave a long round of applause to the funeral procession heading to the Antioquia Museum.

“Botero forever!” a woman in her 60s, dressed in black and draped in a Colombian flag, cheered again and again as she watched the event from behind a security fence.

The ceremony continued with multiple interventions by the artist’s relatives.

“I think the most valuable thing that my grandfather left us (…) is the love of work and the importance of finding vocations in life that help us give meaning to our work,” Felipe Bo Tello said during the ceremony.

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