Meet 6 famous artists from Colombia!

by Deborah Durrfeld
Kunst van Colombia

Colombia has a lot of great artists, including painters and writers. I’m always curious and love to get inspired by art around the world. It’s a great way to understand a country and its culture. In this article I’m listing some of the most remarkable and famous artists, coming from Colombia. And especially where you can find their work.

1. Fernando Botero | Artists from Colombia

One of the most famous artists from Colombia is Fernando Botero. His paintings and sculptures are highly recognizable. The voluptuous shapes of the people in his portraits are remarkable, and sometimes even bizarre. But that is precisely what makes his art so characteristic and special. His work always puts a big smile on my face. I keep wondering what the story behind his work is: is it an obsession, an attempt to crush taboos, a personal background story?

His works of art can be found in the streets of New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Bangkok and Jerusalem. But you can find most of his work in Colombia. Countless sculptures are placed on the Botero square in Medellín. His most important paintings can be seen in Museo Botero in Bogotá and Museo de Antioquia in Medellín. He created his own interpretation of the Mona Lisa and depicted many historical events that have taken place in Colombia, such as the death of Pablo Escobar. On Plaza de Santo Domingo in Cartagena, you will find his famous statue La Gorda (The Fat One). 

Meet Fernando Botero

2. Gabriel García Márquez | Artists from Colombia

If you like books, you have probably heard of this author. Gabriel García Márquez, also known as “Gabo” in Colombia, is the Colombian hero. In 1982 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Books such as “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” take you into the history of Colombia, but also into everyday life. His style made him world famous, and you will see his name everywhere in this country.

There are several (cultural) institutions named after him and he is regularly referenced in Colombian street art. If you want to know more about Gabo and the place that inspired his fictional village “Macondo”, you can choose to make a stopover in Aracataca. This is his birthplace, located in the province of Magdalena. His birthplace is now a museum with nice proverbs and quotes on the walls. Time seems to have stood still here. You can also visit the Aracataca train station. The place Gabo and his father visited, to collect the mail on a daily base, according to his books. You can also find a long street full of street art that testifies of Gabo’s impact on global literature.

The town is working hard to attract tourists, which has proven a challenge, because it’s not on the usual route. However, if you’re in the neighborhood, do take a look. The serene atmosphere is unique!

Curious to discover the atmosphere from the Márquez books? Read more about beautiful Mompox.

Discover the best books coming from Central and South america in the following article.

3. Édgar Negret Dueñas | Artists from Colombia

The works of this artist can be found in a number of Colombian cities, as well as many exhibitions all over the world. Negret is known for his constructivist and abstract sculptures and his use of iron, steel and aluminum. Casa Museo Negret is located in Popayán, his birthplace. Here you will find some of his important works but also pieces of modern art from his private collection, such as an original Picasso. If you are in Popayán and like to get inspired by art, be sure to drop by.

4. Pedro Nel Gómez | Artists from Colombia

Pedro Nel Gómez is often compared to Diego Rivera and José Clemente. His work is typical of Mexican muralism. His art can be found all over Latin America. Medellín has a beautiful museum dedicated to his work: Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez. Also at the metro station Parque Berrio you will find one of his largest murals, depicting the development of the province of Antioquia. 

5. Luis Alberto Acuña Tapado | Artists from Colombia

At the beginning of the 20th century, Luis Alberto Acuña Tapado traveled to Europe to work with Landwosky, Feuerbach and Picasso. When he returned to Colombia, he developed his highly personal style. Acuña Tapado is known for his frescoes: a combination of indigenous art, realism and the Renaissance. 

In Villa de Leyva you will find his former home. It has been turned into a small museum, where you can find his paintings and sculptures, as well as works from his private art collection. I find the courtyard garden particularly interesting. Here, you can find various sculptures, masks and murals, depicting the stories and myths related to the indigenous Muisca civilization.

6. Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt | Artists from Colombia

Betancourt is a 20th-century visual artist. His work is mainly exhibited in public spaces. On the town square in Medellin you will find the important monument “Monumento de la Raza” depicting the history of the province of Antioquia. In Neiva you can find “La Gaitana”, a monument that shows the story about the struggle between the Spaniards and indigenous people. 

Do you want to get inspired by Modern Art?

The best modern art museum of Bogotá is called Mambo, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá. There are different exhibitions and it’s really worth visiting.


Interesting in knowing more about Latin American artists and their work? Read on here.


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This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

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