World Famous Colombian Artist and His Greek Wife Celebrate His 80th Birthday

Fernando Botero, one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists still alive, celebrated his 80th birthday on April 3 in his hometown of Rionegro, Colombia.

Next to his Greek wife Sophia Vari, also an acclaimed sculptor, Botero told AFP that giving up painting seems to be a crueler fate than death.

“I work more now perhaps because I know that there is so little time left,” he said.

Living for the past few years in Tuscany and having no plans to retire, the Colombian painter and sculptor continues presenting his works of art in galleries and auctions around the world.

Born in Medellín, Colombia to David Botero and Flora Angulo, Botero was influenced by the Baroque style of the colonial churches and the rich life of the city. He is best known for his over-sized figures and sculptures.

Botero’s vision involves the conviction that monumentality is not so much a question of size as it is of proportion. It is a search for the hero in art, an attribute that Botero first discovered as a student in Florence. Today, he divides his time between Paris, New York and Tuscany.

Being an admirer of the abstract herself, his wife Sophia creates tangled forms that gather themselves, soar skywards, kink, unfold in extension and merge in ease. Her work was recently presented for the first time in Colombia in December 2011, with an exhibition of her artwork in the city of Cartagena.