Fernando Botero

Colombian painter Fernando Botero escaped unharmed along with his wife after a fire broke out in their residence in central Colombia, local media reported on Monday.

The blaze reportedly damaged large parts of the couple’s home in Rio Negro in the state of Antioquia. Firefighters say, however, that they managed to rescue much of the iconic painter’s artwork from the home.

Botero and his wife, Sophia Vari, were taken to a hospital in nearby Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city and the capital of Antioquia, and treated for smoke inhalation, but both are said to be in good health following the incident.

Rio Negro Fire Department Lieutenant Nelson Zuluaga told Caracol Radio that four fire trucks and an ambulance arrived at the residence during the emergency and that authorities are trying to establish the cause of the fire.

Botero and Vari were with family members when they first noticed smoke, but no one present sustained any injuries, according to Lieutenant Zuluaga.

Botero, 81, is a world-famous artist and one of Colombia’s best-known cultural figures, distinguished mostly for a bizarre aesthetic that enlarges both the human and animal subjects of his work.


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