Card Players by Fernando Botero

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Card Players by Fernando Botero and Suzie Q by F. Scott Hess are two artworks that are set in entirely unique places, but each has its special rich themes. In Card Players, Botero attempts to satirically criticize the political excesses and the societal rot in his Colombian society via the use of swollen figures. He deliberately chose card enjoying because it represents gambling, which has defined the social life-style of Latin America. Apparently, paintings on Card Players have been done earlier than by earlier sculptors such as Picasso, Georgas Braque, Felice Casorati and Gino Severini to carry various themes. Botero built on such pieces of art to portray his ideas. Conversely, in Suzie Q, Hess brings forth an aspect of human folly that many would rather wish to be left undiscussed. Old men are all drawn to a young nude lady doing her gymnastics above them. The young lass seems to be aware that she is the one pulling strings for the old men’s form of entertainment. This paper will explore and analyze the artistic depiction and representation of the themes as well as discuss the points of convergence of the two artworks.
Card Players by Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero is a famous sculptor and painter, well known for his different stylization of objects and figures. His arts are daily manifestations of life in his native country of Colombia. Basing his art on such historical figures as Mona Lisa, he can succinctly depict expose power abuses within the society through veil social criticism. From his own admission, he is unknowingly attracted to some nature of form that causes him to adopt a position intuitively. Interestingly, the justification and rationalization of the chosen position only come later. The Card Players artwork represents a high quality, inflated, smooth and manipulating piece of art that serves to portray Fernando Botero as an all rounded person.
Smooth, wide faces, bulbous figures and small features to depict affluent or influential excesses characterize most of Fernando Botero works. Besides, his works are mainly motivated by political satire. In this particular and unique drawing by charcoal on paper, Botero underscores one of his signature portraits, which features a mysterious composition of card players. The most intriguing however is that of a nude woman among them. 
The paintings depict three people playing cards while a fourth one watches from an adjacent room. One of the players is a naked woman. The fourth person is partially hidden but can be clearly seen by two of the three card players. As is typical with all Botero’s Card players, one of the players smokes a cigar as he plays. The paintings exhibit a synthetic cubism and a personal representation of reality. Card playing can be done for several reasons, among them as a form of gambling. Before the onset of betting, most gaming acts usually took place inside casinos. Apparently, casinos are also associated with adverse socioeconomic activities such as prostitution, binges, money laundering and drug trades. Therefore, the inclusion of a nude woman as one of the card players is a depiction of the moral decay that happens in such social events (Sillevis, Botero and Elliott 86).
It is no doubt that the happenings in the nation of Colombia are representations of all the features depicted in Botero’s paintings. Most of the country’s nightclubs are a wash of intent card players, corpulent nudes, smoking and consumption of other drugs. Additionally, the country chokes under the yolk of evil dictators. One striking feature with all Botero’s paintings and sculpture is the continued use of swollen figures to convey his social and political messages. The inflated figures depict the excesses of the individuals’ behavior to the Colombian society.
It is clear that the everybody finds the nudity of the woman strange going by the kind of stares she is receiving from the men in the room. Her card playing opponents and the fourth guy in the other room seem unable to take their eyes off her. Whether this is by default or design, it has the potential of shaping the results of the game. Although Botero does not show any form of trickery, cheating or money on the table, the male card players in the room seem to have breached the number rule of skillful card play and winning. They are not focused on their game but are rather a nudity of their female opponent. On the contrary, the female card player is so targeted and does not seem to be distracted by stares from the male. Maybe this is her trickery to win over her opponents. The fact that both male players have drained all their drinks while the female opponent’s drink is still half way full could only point to the fact that her focus on the game is real.
Suzie Q by F. Scott Hess
The title of this particular Scott Hess’ painting is derived from a song titled Suzie Q by Dale Hawkins, a Louisiana musician. The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival were the most famous performers of the song. Simply put, it hints at the female indifference and male desire. A deeper meaning is from a historical and biblical story of Susanna and the Elders. When Hess got down to work, his mission was to portray the desires of the elders of the unattainable figure that floats over their heads. Suzie, the hanging figure is presented as buff, young girl in self-control and awareness, but out to use the desires of the old folks for her gains. She is not perturbed by the bubbling cauldron of the aging testosterone under her.
Hess has never shied off from exploring the human’s darker side and folly. In this Suzie Q painting, he humorously and yet brilliantly channels old men lost by the sight of a young nude woman. Suzie Q, the gorgeous naked lady with athletic body contorts her anatomy into a sensual pole, which is suspended above a group of old male admirers, probably in a night club. She is the only object of desire for the whole group of revelers. However, she is not only out of reach but also unattainable to the men underneath her. The fact that the voyeurs cannot cease gazing longingly at her means that she is attractive to their desires (ArtWeek.LA 1956).
The attractiveness of women has been used for commercial purposes by many business people. The old men in the painting must be rich and out to seek for entertainment in a high-end strip club. Since the owner of the business is mainly interested in making profits, he or she will go to whatever length to ensure that the club play host to as many patrons as possible. Apparently, exposing nudity is the main attraction to the old men.
Both artworks portray a naked woman who is attracting the attention of men. The focus of men in the Card Players is on the naked lady playing cards with them while in Suzie Q, all the old men in the nightclub are all looking up to the naked woman doing her gymnastics. In both cases, the nude ladies seem to enjoy being centers of attention of men. In the first instance, the naked girl might be using her nudeness as a ploy to outplay men in their own game. With the knowledge that men are rendered weak and helpless at the sight of a beautiful and an attractive lady, this girl card player goes into the game with that in mind. Her mission is to distract men so that she can focus more on the match and win. Card playing is a game of wits, and she chose her body to be the wit.
In the second painting, Hess uses old men to present parallels in the society. In ordinary circumstances, it is the old men who offer moral compasses to the society. They guide the youth and advise them on the appropriate places to seek social bearings. Funnily, strip clubs are abhorred by the wise old men. However, in this painting, Hess puts the old men and their desires at the mercy of a naked woman in a strip club. The woman seems to be aware of the impacts her actions are having on the men and this encourages her to do it with vigor. Because of the business idea behind Suzie Q by F. Scott Hess, it is better than the Card Players.
Works cited
ArtWeek.LA. “F. Scott Hess: In Transit.” Landscape Photography, 56 (2011): 1944-1984. Print.
Sillevis, John, et al. The Baroque world of Fernando Botero. Alexandria, VA: Art Services International, 2007. Print.

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