Sample English Essay Paper on Critical Analysis of Botero’s Abu Ghraib 47

For centuries, art has formed a fundamental thread that weaves together ideologies that hold societies together. Art has played a crucial role in ensuring that the human heritage is passed down not only from one generation to another but also to other societies in the form of cultural exchange. Therefore, art is more than just an entertainment medium that millions of people around the globe savor. It is a powerful communication tool capable of compacting and encoding powerful messages and lessons. However, these functions of art are brought out by different artists in unique ways that can be used to distinguish different artists and their styles. In his Abu Ghraib 47 painting, Columbian art specialist Fernando Angulo Botero intricately warps humor and irony to highlight a critical issue.

            Fernando Angulo Botero is one of the leading Baroque artists of the modern era (Seaman 50). Using chisel and smooth brushstrokes, Botero has painted and chiseled his name in minds of many art loves and users of public spaces globally with his unique approach to art. He has perfected the use of sensual exaggeration and puffed up characters in his art pieces to highlight critical social, economic and political themes. Christened as Boterismo, Botero’s unique approach to art is evident in his iconographic Abu Ghraib 47 painting. The painting tackles a political issue that has attracted the attention of the global community: the Abu Ghraib detention center in Cuba. In particular, Botero’s smooth and majestic brush strokes bring to the fore the controversial mistreatment of terror suspects by United States officials in the guise of fighting terrorism.

            One of the outstanding features of the Abu Ghraib 47 painting is the use of chubby characters. It is a style that Botero has adopted in all his paintings and carvings. It is an innovative approach to art that allows Botero to add humor to his art works. This life-like feature allows Botero to displace the expected tense theme of the painting with a more relaxed one. The faces and the body of the inmates are inflated in a lifelike representation that seems to poke fun at a seemingly serious issue. They are invitingly chubby and instantly stir a desire to touch their ballooned bodies. The inflated figures breathe life into a rather dark issue and allow the audience to connect with it through the figures. The inflated figures show how palpable the mistreatment of the prisoners by the U.S. authorities. The figures are thought provoking while their sizes also add a sense of humor to the thought process.

            One of the outstanding features of Botero’s painting is his ability to add a layer of eroticism in his presentation. The prisoners are presented as sleeping naked on top of each other with their hands tied behind their backs, blindfolded and all crammed up in one cell. This layering of images in the painting, while symbolic, also pays homage to Botero’s skillful ability to a layer of humor with each layer of paint he adds to his paintings. These visual elements are critical in encoding and compacting the message he intends to send to his audiences. It shows the careless abandon with which the authorities mistreated the prisoners. This skilful interplay between visual elements and design has enabled Botero to carve out a niche for himself as one of the best artists in the world when it comes to caricaturizing images in any piece of art. This skilful interplay has seen him become an architect of infusing irony and humor to tackle a fundamental social and political issue (Honor 149).       

            Botero’s depiction of the predicament of the prisoners at Al Ghraib detention center is borderline dark humor delivered through creativity and imagination. One of the elements that he effectively use to highlight a dark theme in a humorous way is the use of bright colors as opposed to dark colors which ordinarily would be befit the theme. The bright colors used throughout and the inflated figures give the painting a playful touch that outwardly betrays the deep lying theme of the painting. However, such playful touch also serves as an invitation for the observer to look at it with the artistic and objective eye that it deserves. When drawn in by these inviting and playful outward features, the audience is them confounded by a deeply disturbing message that encompasses the whole pointing. The bright colors add to the layered of the painting and further help Botero to stamp his unique style throughout the painting. In the painting, Botero intentionally conflicts color with the theme and end up infusing a light and dark tone to tackle a rather dark theme.

            Fernando Angulo Botero is master of layered painting when it comes to messaging. Al Ghraib 47 is a Botero masterpiece in which he expresses his artistic freedom to create emotions. However, by twisting the and twisting within his artistic space, Botero’s work transfers such imaginative power to the audience by lacing the painting with a significant level of ambiguity in terms of the type of emotion the painting evokes. It allows the audience to subjectively interpret the message in his work. This freedom is further enhanced by the energy that Botero skillfully adds to his paintings. The human forms he depicts in the painting are in a visible energy state. They are all huddled together and struggling to free themselves while blindfolded. The huddling together haphazardly is an indication of that is they are blindfolded. It creates a mental image of a struggle for freedom. The intricate brushstrokes allow the images to twist and turn in their prison cell.

            In conclusion, art has played a critical role in societal development for several centuries. They are not only entertainment; they offer deep insights and lessons on various aspects of human life. Their messages are impactful and effective due to their ability to stimulate human imagination. As such artists have adopted unique artistic styles with the view of standing out from their contemporaries and the many artists in whose footsteps they are following. When correctly executed, such a quest for stylistic distinction can inspire the beginning of an art movement. One such contemporary art movement is the Boterismo which stemmed from Fernando Angulo Botero’s unique warping of human and irony in his art pieces. Botero’s are classical examples of irony and the Al Ghraib 47 painting is his masterpiece of artistic irony. The art piece is layered and intricately combines irony with humor to tackle a dark and controversial social and political theme. Botero’s designs, color choice and the twisting and turning of images to breathe life in them betray the serious theme he tackles.

Works Cited

Honor, Jones. “Botero’s Abu Ghraib.” The Virginia Quarterly Review, 84(2008): 149.

Seaman, Donna. “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero.” Booklist, 103.13(2007): 50.

Appendix: The Al Ghraib 47 Painting

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