My mom was recently in town to visit me here in Medellín and we made a point to visit all the major attractions here in town.
No visit to Medellín would be complete without a visit to the Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero to view the works of Fernando Botero, the famous Medellín-born artist.
The Museo de Antioquia is in El Centro beside the popular Botero Plaza, just steps from the Parque Berrio metro station.
Upon arriving at Plaza Botero, be sure to take a moment to wander among the 23 bronze Botero statues scattered around the plaza and to take in the hustle and bustle of the square beneath the beautiful Gothic-style Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture.
Entrance to the museum costs 10,000 pesos ($5.50) and if you’d like to get more out of your visit to the museum, you can also rent the hand-held audio guide which can tell you more about certain individual works throughout the museum (available in English, as well).
The primary exhibit of the museum is the comprehensive collection of Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures, located on the third floor.
The museum staff, and myself, recommend you start on the third floor with his works and then work your way down.
Even if you don’t know the name Fernando Botero, you’ve probably seen his work at some point or another.
He is an artist with works featured all over the world, from Park Avenue in New York City to the Champs Elysées in Paris, and is certainly the most prominent painter and sculptor from Colombia.
Fernando Botero was born in Medellín in 1932.
Botero initially went to matador school to learn become a bullfighter, but went on to pursue the arts, living overseas and studying the works of famous artists in Madrid, Paris and Florence.
Botero’s works are best known for featuring plump, rotund people, animals, and objects.
Botero did not consider his subjects “fat” but rather considered it an exploration of proportion, volume and form. His works are quite obvious for their distinctive style.
His subjects range from your standard still life, to local characters and cityscapes here in Antioquia, to bullfighting and the culture surrounding it, to the increasing violence in the era of Pablo Escobar–all of which are done in his signature style.
The Museo de Antioquia itself really got kickstarted in 1974 when it attempted to purchase one of Botero’s works in installments. Perhaps because of the unusual request, Botero’s response was to donate the piece to his hometown museum.
Botero continued to patronize his hometown museum by donating additional works, including a number of large, bulk donations, forcing the museum to search for its new (and current) home in 2000.
More than 90 of Botero’s works are housed at the Museo de Antioquia.
The museum also contains a number of other exhibits, including a hall featuring the works of international artists, mostly modern art, an exhibit featuring religious and colonial art from the period of conquest here in South America, among other works and exhibitions.
The Museo de Antioquia is absolutely worth a visit whether you are just briefly passing through Medellín or will be staying here more long-term.
You can easily spend a few hours exploring the Botero hall and other exhibits at the Museo de Antioquia and becoming better acquainted with Medellín’s most famous artist.
The museum also features a nice gift shop with unique, local items along with a nice cafe and restaurant on the first floor.
I highly recommend capping your visit to the museum with a fresh fruit juice on their outdoor patio where you can take in the lively and vibrant Plaza Botero.