Characteristically for Botero, this universal childhood experience is presented with a lightly sarcastic tone; “Botero’s world is peopled with a cast of characters who are generally absurd and a little pathetic, doing mostly very ordinary things. But there is a warmth of approach and a human sympathy which saves them from the ugly and once seen they are never forgotten” (Tracy Atkinson, Botero, Munich 1970, p. 3). In Niño mordido por un perro, humor and melodrama come in through subtle details, in particular from the fine but bright shock of blood and the cartoonishly jagged shape of the bitemark. Conversely, the boy’s gleaming tears and the stick in his hand, perhaps about to be thrown to the dog outside the frame, evoke a genuine pathos and may call to mind the viewer’s own memories of skinned knees, cat scratches, and other tribulations of childhood.
Botero’s often-silly and always-endearing characters such as Niño mordido por un perro hold up a mirror to our own lives. In their stocky monumentality, they offer glimpses of our earnestness, sweetness, frailty and foolishness writ large.
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