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News > Colombia

Farewell Ceremony to Botero’s Body in Colombian Congress

  • Farewell ceremony to the body of master Fernando Botero. Sep. 22, 2023.

    Farewell ceremony to the body of master Fernando Botero. Sep. 22, 2023. | Photo: X/@ArgColombia

Published 22 September 2023

His remains will finally be transferred to the Italian town of Pietrasanta, where those of his wife, Greek painter Sofia Var, rest. 

The body of the Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero was received this Friday, amid applause, in the Elliptical Hall of the Colombian Congress. Thus begin the farewell ceremonies that the country will offer for a week in the capital, Bogotá, and in Medellín, his hometown.

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The coffin, with the remains of the Colombian artist, will remain for three days in the hall, which will be open for citizens to say their last goodbye.

The ceremony was presided over by the presidents of both chambers of Congress, who highlighted the value that Botero gave to the Colombian people in the most convulsive moments of the recent history of the South American country and that he captured in his works.

On the occasion the president of the House of Representatives, Andrés Calle said that "today we immerse ourselves in nostalgia, in the silence left by the paintbrush when it comes to rest, to celebrate the life and legacy of a titan of art, the incomparable Fernando Botero."

Calle also noted that in the ceremony "we remember not only the artist, but the poet of proportions, the sculptor of dreams and the visionary of the human form."

The tweet reads, "Today we pay posthumous tribute to the master Fernando Botero in the Elliptical Hall of the House of Representatives, a space to say goodbye to a great artist who leaves an invaluable legacy to the world."

The president of the Senate, Iván Name, noted that "all praise for the master Fernando Botero will be few." He added that "now comes his legend, which will be kept not only by Colombia but by the world, in all his sculptures scattered around the planet and for all his wonderful brush that captured a world that he painted after understanding it and that he understood after capturing it."

The farewell ceremony was also attended by some government cabinet ministers, as well as other personalities of Colombian politics, in addition to the master's family. The latter thanked the posthumous tribute to the man who dedicated his life to carry the name of Colombia on high.

"Thanks to his unmistakable style and despite the sometimes brutal subject, his works always convey that sensuality, that beauty, because, as he used to say, they were painted with love," his daughter, Lina Botero, said at the ceremony.

Her father, she said, was an example of life and "I always admired in him his courage and congruence and that from a very young age he recognized his north and remained faithful to it throughout his life."

The tweet reads, "Fernando Botero was a universal Colombian. To pay tribute to him, different public events will be held and broadcast live on the @CCongresoCol , @InstitucionalTV , the social networks of the Chamber and the @SenadoGovCo ."

The congressmen delivered a motion of mourning to the artist's relatives, and the ceremony featured performances by the Colombian National Symphony and the band of the Presidential Guard Battalion.

After Botero's death, which occurred last September 15 in Monaco due to pneumonia at the age of 91, the Colombian Government decreed three days of mourning, while the Mayor's Office of Medellín, his hometown, ordered seven days of mourning.

The long line of citizens who came to bid farewell to the artist showed the relevance of Botero's contribution. The long perenigration of the artist's body will continue next Monday in Medellín, where it will be transferred after two other ceremonies.

One will take place at the Primada Cathedral of Bogotá, the main Catholic temple in Colombia. The second will be a cultural ceremony to be held at the Botero Museum, which houses a large collection of his works and those of other important artists, donated by Botero to the Colombian capital in 2000.

In Medellín, Botero's body will also receive funeral honors in a mortuary chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and on Thursday it will return to Bogotá, where it will be cremated. Finally, his remains will be transferred to the Italian city of Pietrasanta, where those of his wife, the Greek painter Sophia Vari, who died on May 5, already rest.

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