In Colombia, the still life reinvented

Updated: May 31, 2020

Nature morte remains popular with contemporary art. From Fernando Botero to Maria Montoya, Jaguar Art finds that Colombian painting has been able to counter these frozen representations with a new attire.

Paul Cézanne, Le Caravage, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Roy Lichtenstein,...

All these painters have dedicated themselves to still life. For the French art historian

Charles Sterling, a specialist in this genre of painting, the artist arranges the frozen elements (fruits, game, flowers...) to "impose his poetic emotion in front of the beauty he saw in these objects and their assembly". "

In one of his most famous paintings, Nature Morte à la mandoline (1957), the Colombian watercolorist and sculptor Fernando Botero depicts a small lute bouncing with a short handle on a table, surrounded by two chubby fruits, a red fabric, a score, and a closed box.

Nature Morte à la mandoline (1957)

"One day, after a lot of work, I took a pencil at random and drew a mandolin with very big shapes as I always did. But when I drew the hole in the center of the instrument, I made it much smaller and suddenly the mandolin acquired extraordinarily monumental proportions", said the painter about the creation of this work. He affirms for the first time his famous feature of generous proportions. Botero then followed his taste for the genre with Nature morte aux fruits (1978), Oranges et pineapple (1988) La sieste (1989) or Nature morte, le journal (1989). In each work the amplitude of the forms is communicated to the voluptuous and sensual observer.

La sieste (1989)

Far from being obsolete, still lifes are constantly being tamed. Originally from Bogota, Maria Montoya is part of the young generation of Colombian artists. A committed feminist, proudly queer, the young woman practices embroidery, collage and painting. Mixing words and small drawings that represent elements of her daily life, she is known for her colorful and very pop style. The artist from Bogota publishes on Instagram (@mariamontoya_art) one of her paintings representing a collection of fruits on a green background entitled “Bodegón Contemporaneo” (Contemporary Still life).

Bodegón contemporaneo ( Nature morte contemporaine )

The disproportion of the objects represented and the vividness of the colors are reminiscent of the paintings of his old man, Fernando Botero. But far from pretending to be part of a lineage of master painters, María Montoya makes fun of herself and willingly describes her representation as "kitsch" as a legend.

Chloé Cosson