Painting: Pinatas in Oil

The trouble with most Latin American artists today is that they exist by busily grinding out tardy repetitions of styles already arrived, or even through and done with in the world's major art capitals. Fernando Botero, 34, is the kind of exception to this dismal pursuit of fashionable copies that suggests a rule: blend your native vision with the history of all art and forget critics.

A product of Madrid's 214-year-old San Fernando Academy, Colombia-born Botero uses a Renaissance palette of seven oil colors over verdaccio, the greenish base that guarantees lifelike hues. He prefers ocher to the chemical yellows...

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