The masterpieces that comprise the series Via Crucis. La Pasiòn de Cristo were donated by Fernando Botero in 2012 to the Museo de Antioquia, in Medellín, his hometown, on Good Friday, the year of his 80th birthday.
The exhibition, consisting of 27 oil paintings and 34 drawings made between 2010 and 2011, was presented in the halls of the museum where it immediately received great public and press acclaim. With this donation, the Museo de Antioquia became the institution with the largest number of Botero’s works in its collection: 187 in total, including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Ana Piedad Jaramillo, who was the director of the Museo de Antioquia at the time of the donation, recalls how Botero told her that he had had a nocturnal revelation that persuaded him to donate the works that make up the Via Crucis to the museum. In fact, the master declared that one of the angels in his paintings appeared to him in a dream and whispered in his ear that he should leave the works in Medellín.
The donation of Via Crucis. The Pasiòn de Cristo is actually one of many that Botero made to his city during his lifetime: the same week that the collection was donated, the artist also gave the city of Medellín a large bronze sculpture, El gato, to be placed at the entrance to a public library.
Botero also donated to the Museo de Antioquia part of his private art collection, consisting of dozens of works by great contemporary masters and also some works of classical art.
From the beginning, both the Museo de Antioquia and the artist imagined that the Via Crucis series could be taken, in itinerant form, to other museums in the country and around the world, and it is because of this desire that the exhibition Via Crucis. La Pasiòn de Cristo is presented for the first time in Milan at the Museo della Permanente.