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Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida


"I hate darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have light enough in it.  I agree with him. We painters, however, can never reproduce sunlight as it really is. I can only approach the truth of it. " Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Mother, 1895

Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) was a prolific Spanish painter from Valencia. He has been dubbed "the painter of light". His works include portraits, landscapes, historical and monumental themes. He left behind some 2000 paintings and there is a good representation of his oeuvres at his former home which is now the Museo Sorolla.

In the painting, Mother, Sorolla portrays his newly born daughter, Elena, with his wife who looks lovingly at her daughter. It's difficult to use white paint without overwhelming the subject. But Sorolla meticulously works with gradations of white. The white wall is a different shade from the white pillowcases and the white bedcover. He works with the curves of the bodies under the cover and the folds of the bedcover to veer away from a monochromatic tone. 

La llegada de las barcas, Jávea, 1905

La llegada de las barcas (the arrival of the boats) is one of my favorite paintings in the collection. I love how the sails are billowing in the wind and seem to engulf the painting. Sorolla was exposed to the works of the impressionists during his studies in Paris. This painting reflects the influence of impressionism on his work with the barely discernible figures, his brushstroke rendering of the sea and the application of a nautical theme. 

Frieze of flowers, fruits and laurel on the mantel

The mantel and upper walls of the dining room are decorated with a frieze of garlands of fruits and laurel accentuated with portraits of Sorolla's wife and daughters.

Artist's studio
Painting in background: Strolling along the Seashore, 1909

Not surprisingly, Sorolla's studio is well appointed. Some of his extensive collection of ceramics are displayed here along with his impressive desk, a bed, sculptures and religious statues, his paint brushes and watercolor paintings. Sorolla painted many scenes of the Alhambra and its gardens in Granada and they are hung in this room.

Sorolla's works were a "commercial" success during his lifetime. He had a market for his paintings both in Europe and the United States. He was invited by the Hispanic Society of America to exhibit his works in the U.S. in 1909. He returned in 1911 for an exhibition of his paintings at the Chicago Art Institute. He was also in demand as a portraitist and among his subjects was Howard Taft, the President of the United States whom he painted in 1909. Sorolla also received numerous awards for his works including the Grand Prix and the Medal of Honor at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900 and the medal of honor at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1901. 

Garden

There's a little bit of the Alhambra in Sorolla's garden. I enjoyed listening to the music of the fountains and rested awhile and away from the noise and heat of the city. The sweet scent of oranges from a heavily laden tree in front of the house permeated the air. This was such a lovely place to re-energize and remind myself that traveling isn't all about keeping up with the "things to see and do" list but more importantly, to bask in serendipitous moments like this.

Museo Sorolla
General Martinez Campos, 37
Madrid
Metro: Iglesa line 1, Ruben Dario line 5, Gregorio Marañón line 7 or 10
Entrance fee: 3€ (check for discounts for senior citizens or students and Saturday afternoons
museosorolla.mcu.es 

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie 


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