Creating Works In Botero’s Style
This workshop was planned in connection with a temporary exhibition Fernando Botero’s Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts that was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest from 30 September 2010 to 20 February 2011. The exhibition contained six paraphrases of famous paintings from earlier times, such as Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait or Diego Velázquez’s Infanta Margarita Teresa.
During the workshop adult learners could try to make paraphrases of the Museum of Fine Arts’ paintings in Botero’s style.
In the Marble Hall, one of the grand galleries in Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. (www.szepmuveszeti.hu). The workshop ‘Join us, create your own art’’ was organised by the Education Department of the Museum as part of the Museum + programme (link) which are open to all Museum visitors. Live jazz music and a café are also situated close by in the Marble Hall.
18.00 – 21.00, Thursday. February 17, 2011
Flóra Kevély, Egyptologist
Éva Birkás, Museum Educator
Twelve men and women and eight children (with or without their mums). Most learners came from middle or upper-middle class backgrounds (the Museum charges for admission fee equivalent to the cost of purchasing a ticket to the temporary exhibition) and chose to join the workshop whilst visiting the collections.
For learners to:
• Enjoy painting
• Enjoy creating funny pictures in Botero’s style, by mixing old masters’ paintings or ancient red-figured vases and Botero’s figures
For facilitators to:
• Explore how people choose details of human figures from Botero’s pictures and other pictures, and arrange them into one composition.
1. The workshop took place along one side of the Marble Hall, a huge gallery, round four tables placed together. These were encircled by chairs where learners could sit and work comfortably. Printed out reproductions of the Museum of Fine Arts’ paintings and vases and of Botero’s paintings, pencils, rubbers, tempera, brushes and water were placed on the table.
2. As people approached the tables, staff explained the concept to them. The learners chose a picture from the reproductions they wanted to transform, and reproductions of Botero’s paintings to help them creating “Boteroish” figures. Then they were given a piece of paper.
VALUE FOR LEARNERS
Learners could understand Botero’s working method by observing the proportions of the human body’s details in his pictures, copying them in their own work, and achieving the “blown-up” effect. Participants found the experience of mixing these characteristics with an old and respected work of art to be funny.
In the beginning some women came with children, and began painting together. Children didn’t really understand the idea of paraphrases, and the adults accompanying them didn’t seem to be willing to try it out either. They simply copied one of the reproductions, either Botero’s or the Museum’s painting’s. Then came a group of young French people who painted and drew very nice pictures according to the instructions, and afterwards almost all the new-comers created works based on our concept and painted funny paraphrases.
There was one woman who had a look around in the beginning and kept on saying that this activity was too difficult, so she didn’t want to try it out. She returned after some time and could see a lot of people succeeding in creating a paraphrase, but she didn’t change her mind even then.
VALUE FOR FACILITATORS
Facilitators learned that people are attracted to painting.
After giving some basic advice (for example showing them a head painted by Botero and pointing out that the eyes, the nose and the mouth are too small compared with the head; or suggesting a certain painting of Botero to them, that seemed to be proper for transforming the picture they chose because of the similarity of the figures’ poses on them) most of the learners were able to choose the details of the human body that are characteristically designed on Botero’s paintings and use them in their own picture painted after an old master’s picture or a vase-picture.
One of the participants asked the facilitators why Botero had painted such fat figures. The facilitators pointed out that these figures were not really fat but “blown-up.” It seems that some of the participants need background information connected with art history as well and obviously not only on a guided tour.