Fernando Botero and Abu Ghraib


Fernando Botero is showing his incredible new paintings of the Abu Ghraib torture scenes at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. You can see more of them at Slate.com


About bulletsandhoney
I read my first book when I was three, then my second one a few weeks later. It has carried on this way for decades with only temporary distractions of eating, fighting, loving, heartbreak and other such irrelevant biographical details.

13 Responses to Fernando Botero and Abu Ghraib

  1. Gabo says:


  2. demia says:

    ewwww nasty photo but gud work something that my grandma would hang on the wall only cuz shes a freak

  3. alissa says:

    wow great use of value and texture

  4. Colombiana says:

    I need a good analysis of this picture ASAP!!!! please help me?!!!

  5. Carmen Mendoza says:

    Pues que le puedo decir a Botero, gracias, mil gracias por efectivamente hacer “visible lo invisible.” Los artistas tal como el mismo lo dice tienen una funcion social, un deber con la historia y su epoca. Cuando me entere de estas toruras me llene de indignacion y rabia. Pero como expresar lo que uno siente, como gritarlo a los cuatro vientos; Botero lo ha hecho por nosotros. Asi le haya costado a el pintarla con indignacion y asi nos cueste a nosotros estas lagrimas de ver como persiste la tortura, crueldad, el odio, y la venganza….El torturador no necesita ser pintado porque sabemos quien es , pero si su obra, y asi cueste verla ayuda a liberar en nosotros esa ira que tenemos por lo inhumano, por la hipocresia de estos poderosos, que predican lo que son incapaces de sentir…gracias Botero, gracias hermano

  6. Bill R says:

    Is this supposed to be less humane than beheading?
    If so, then we should just behead all the prisoners, no trial (Did Daniel Pearl get a trial?), just Chop and off with their heads

  7. joe says:

    what a piece of shit! dogs never bit or attacked the prisoners they only barked at them, this douche-bag is warping an already misrepresented event to fit his dumbass view of america.

    • jwaddle says:

      Joe, Joe, Joe, your intellectually bankrupt analysis of Botero’s work tells us much more about you that it does about the paintings. As long as you let Cheney, Hannity and Limbaugh do your thinking for you, you will never develop beyond the pea brained Neanderthal that you are now. It is you who is the douche bag. It is you that has the dumb ass view of America. The whole story of the abuses that occurred there has yet to be told and I dare say Botero’s view of Abu Ghraib is probably more accurate and realistic than yours. Open your mind and come into the 21st century.

      Even though I recognized his talent, I was never a big fan of Botero but these paintings and drawings are a tour de force. I now have much more respect for him as an artist. These paintings and drawings are on the scale of Goya’s series of prints from the early nineteenth century ” Los desastres de la guerra”, “The disasters of war”. The scenes depicted in these prints are disturbing in their presentation of battlefield horror, and represent an outraged conscience in the face of death and destruction. The prints were not published until 1863, 35 years after Goya’s death. The same can be said for Botero. His “outraged conscience” is vividly on display in his work and he speaks for millions of us world wide who are likewise outraged at the injustice in the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

  8. a.b. says:

    sorry Joe you’re the one who’s a victim of a dumbass view of America — get your facts straight!

    “Prosecutors have focused on an incident caught in published photographs, when the two men allegedly cornered a naked detainee and allowed the dogs to bite him on each thigh as he cowered in fear.”


  9. a.b. says:

    ps. thanks for the enlightening critique of this work of art – ‘a piece of shit’…

  10. ng says:

    joe- the significance of a painting isnt always esactly what the artist paints, metaphors and symbolisms is clearly expressed in this piece of art.

  11. Sam Rizzo says:

    I would argue a somewhat polemic idea that Botero did not choose these works to make some overt critique of U.S. torture policy but rather to express an essence he felt needed to be expressed. Listen to the NPR interview with Botero conducted by Margot Adler. Botero never looked at the famous photos from Abu Graib, he painted only from what he read in newspaper articles. This might help in explaining the lack of U.S. presence or depiction of guards, as well as the fantastical portrayal of the dogs. Moreover, and as difficult as this is to establish given the chosen content, Botero’s goal has always been to create the most essential representation of something, to paint “la naranja más naranja.” That he was affected by reports of the Abu Graib tortures should indicate to us, by his own testimony, that regardless of his own sentiments toward the U.S. and its military policies, these events represent the essence of pain, injustice, abuse of power, or whatever it be. The political is clearly present, but it seems only fair to pay attention to Botero’s own words with regard to his donation to the Museo Nacional de Colombia, “No aspiro a que estos cuadros vayan a arreglar nada, porque sé muy bien que el arte no cambia nada, los responsables de los cambios son los políticos. Sólo pretendo dejar el testimonio de un artista que vivió y sintió…” However interpreted, these works are a deviation from the happy rotundity normally associated with Botero, which makes them effective regardless of reading.

  12. Machaon says:

    dogs never bit or attacked the prisoners they only barked at them…

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