Colombian wake for artist Botero before burial in Italy

Colombian artist Fernado Botero was known for depictions of voluptuous people and animals (Gabriel BOUYS)
Colombian artist Fernado Botero was known for depictions of voluptuous people and animals (Gabriel BOUYS)

The body of Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, who died aged 91 last week, will lie in wake in his home country before his burial in Italy, the artist's family said Monday.

Known for his voluptuous depictions of people and animals using different media, Colombia's most famous artist died in Monaco, where he lived, after developing pneumonia.

"We will bring my father to Colombia for a final farewell, first to Bogota, then to Medellin," his hometown, son Juan Carlos Botero told Blu Radio.

In a media statement, the Botero family said the artist's remains will be in the capital on Thursday before being moved to Medellin, where several events will be held to honor his memory.

Juan Carlos Botero said it had been his father's wish to be brought to Colombia after his death "to say goodbye to his people."

He never asked for a tribute but "it is understandable that people want to say goodbye to him and he wanted to say goodbye to his people," added the younger Botero.

After the wake and ceremonies, Botero's body will be cremated and his remains brought to the Italian town of Pietrasanta, where they will be interred next to those of his wife, Greek artist Sophia Vari, who died in May.

Botero -- dubbed the "Picasso of Latin America" -- was a passionate and tireless artist, with an oeuvre of more than 3,000 paintings and 300 sculptures.

His creations, of voluptuous and slightly surreal forms, have been auctioned for up to $4.3 million at the prestigious galleries of cities such as New York or London.

Medellin declared a week of mourning, with Mayor Daniel Quintero saying his works on display in that city "will live forever."

Daughter Lina Botero told reporters her father had continued painting until the end despite a battle with Parkinson's disease which made it hard for him to walk or communicate.