Fernando Botero, a renowned Colombian artist, sadly left us on September 15, 2023. He was 91 years old at the time of his death. He was not only a celebrated figure in the world of art but also the beloved husband of Sophia Vari, herself a talented Greek artist. Tragically, Sophia also departed from this world earlier in the same year, on May 5, 2023, when she was 83 years old.
Their love story began many years ago, and they had been united in marriage since 1978. This union spanned over four decades and saw them sharing their lives in two enchanting cities, Paris in France and Pietrasanta in Italy. Both places, rich in culture and art, reflected the couple’s profound appreciation and commitment to their craft.
Beyond their individual artistic pursuits, Fernando and Sophia had a shared passion for art and sculpture. This mutual love wasn’t just limited to admiration but also took the form of collaboration. Over the years, they combined their unique talents and visions to work on several artistic projects together, creating masterpieces that remain a testament to their combined genius and love for each other.
Who is Fernando Botero’s Wife?
Botero had two marriages. He had three children with his first wife, Gloria Zea (1935–2019), who later ran the Colombian Institute of Culture (Colcultura). Fernando, Lina, and Juan Carlos were their names. After divorcing in 1960, Botero moved to New York and stayed there for 14 years. Eventually, he settled down in Paris.
Botero moved in with Cecilia Zambrano in 1964. They had a son who was born in 1974. He died in a car accident in 1979 that also hurt Botero. In 1975, Botero and Zambrano broke up.
Botero’s second wife was the Greek artist Sophia Vari, who lived from 1940 to 2023. They lived in Paris, Monte Carlo, and Pietrasanta, Italy. In honor of Botero’s 80th birthday, his works were put on display at Pietrasanta.
Early Life and Education of Sophia Vari
Sophia Vari, an illustrious artist, hailed from the historic city of Athens, Greece, where she was born in the year 1940. Growing up, she lived quite an international life, spending a lot of her younger years in Switzerland. Traveling around Europe during her youth, she got to see a variety of places and cultures which surely shaped her outlook.
In 1958, with an unquenchable thirst for art and learning, Sophia made the pivotal decision to relocate to the renowned artistic hub of Paris. There, Sophia joined the renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts. At this respected school, she honed her skills in various art forms like painting, drawing, and the detailed craft of engraving.
Over time, as her artistry evolved, Sophia was greatly inspired by the major art movements of her era. Abstract expressionism, with its spontaneous and emotive visual language, left a profound impact on her. Simultaneously, geometric abstraction, characterized by its structured and systematic approach, also captured her imagination.
Drawing inspiration from these movements, Sophia began to cultivate her distinctive artistic voice. Over time, she became renowned for her vibrant, colorful, and dynamic compositions that seamlessly melded emotion with geometry, creating a symphony of visual elements on the canvas.
Meeting and Marriage with Fernando Botero
In 1976, Sophia Vari and Fernando Botero both had art shows in New York’s Marlborough Gallery. That’s where they met and fell in love. Two years later, they got married in Colombia. After that, they moved to Paris and got a house in Pietrasanta, Italy, to make statues.
Botero’s third wife was named Sophia Vari. He was married to Colombian journalist and culture minister Gloria Zea from 1955 to 1960, and to Colombian painter Cecilia Zambrano from 1966 to 1974. Fernando, Juan Carlos, Lina, and Pedro were the four children of Botero from his first marriage.
Sadly, in 1974, when they were living in Spain, Pedro tragically lost his life in a car accident at the tender age of four.
Artistic Career and Collaboration with Fernando Botero
Sophia Vari was a skilled artist who showed her work all over the world. She was known for her bronze statues that had more than one color and a mix of geometric shapes, natural forms, and human figures. She painted, made collages, made jewelry, and made furniture. She often used bright colors and patterns to give the impression of movement and life.
Both Sophia Vari and Fernando Botero admired and respected the work of the other. They went to each other’s studios often and gave each other opinions and ideas. They also worked together on projects, like “The Hand,” a large sculpture they gave to the city of Bogotá in 1998. As a sign of peace and unity, the art shows a hand holding a dove.
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Death and Legacy of Sophia Vari
Sophia Vari died at her home in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on May 5, 2023. She had cancer and had been fighting it for a long time. Her family and Colombian news sites both said that she had died.
Fernando Botero, her husband, died of complications from pneumonia in Monaco four months after she did. Fernando, Juan Carlos, and Lina, her stepchildren, her brother, and her grandkids also lived on after her.
Sophia Vari left behind a lot of art that shows how creative, original, and happy she was with life. Sophia enrolled at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts. At this school, she sharpened her talents in painting, drawing, and engraving. As she grew as an artist, the significant art trends of her time deeply influenced her.
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