Colombia has a lot of great artists. 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, including Colombian painters, writers and sculptors and I’m telling you where you can find their work throughout the country.
Meet six artists from Colombia
1. Fernando Botero
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).
The work of Colombian painter Fernando Botero can be seen in Bogotá en Medellín, his birthplace. Do you want to read more about these cosmopolitan cities? Have a look in the city guides of Bogotá and Medellín, with the best things to do and many tips.
Meet Fernando Botero, one of the most famous Colombian painters
Interested about learning more about Latin American artists and their work? I love spending my free time in a city, by visiting exhibitions with modern art, and discovering local artists. Latin America represents many famous artists. Everyone known for its own unique style and work. This is a list with some of my favorite Latin American painters, I got to know during my travels through Central and South America.
2. Gabriel García Márquez | most of the most famous literary 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!
One of my favorite things to do when I am abroad is to visit a local book store and look for works of local authors. During my travels, I’ve collected different books from all over the Latin American continent. This is a list with my favorite books coming from Central- and South-America, including classic novels, modern authors, famous poets, interesting and inspiring stories.
3. Édgar Negret Dueñas
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, is one of the famous Colombian painters
Pedro Nel Gómez is one of the most famous Colombian artists and 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
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.
Villa de Leyva is a mountain village, located in the province of Boyacá, a few hours away from Bogotá. Read more about what to do Villa de Leyva Colombia in the next article, the former home of Luis Alberto Acuña Tapado, one of the most famous atrists from Colombia.
6. Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt
Betancourt is one of the 20th-century visual Colombian artists. 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.
Did you know Colombia has a desert? It is officially a large tropical dry forest, because of the annual rainfall. However, it is called the Tatacoa desert in Colombia: El desierto de la Tatacoa. The desert is easy accesible from the city of Neiva. Read more about a visit to the Tatacoa desert in the next article.
Want to get inspired by Modern Art?
The best modern art museum of Bogotá is called Mambo, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá. In Medellín you’ll find the MAMM, The Museum of Modern Art, a small museum with exhibitions of less known Latin American and Colombian artists. Since Colombia has a large art scene, you will often be surprised by cool exhibitions, including paintings, sculptures and installations in these museums. It is also a nice way to learn more about the social and political problems in a particular region.
More about Colombia
Did you enjoy reading this article about Colombian artists and painters? Intererested in reading more about Colombia? Check out the Colombia blog page with all articles, about the Tatacoa desert, Valle de Cocora, Salento, Mompox, Santa Marta and Villa de Leyva, including city guides with everything you need to know about Bogotá and Medellín. Interested in archaeology? Read more about the mysterious San Agustín statues, a fasscinating pre-columbian culture.