Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light

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.


Brushstrokes of Brilliance

There hasn’t been an exhibition celebrating Spain’s ‘master of light’ in the UK for over a century. This year however, the National Gallery celebrates lesser-known Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida by showcasing 58 of his career-spanning works. Now, visitors will be able to see for themselves the canvases that seem to shimmer and glow.

Sorolla was a prolific ‘en plein air’ painter who sought to depict everyday Spanish life through landscapes and portraits. Using a bravura brushstroke technique, he infused his art with light and shade, movement and depth. Types from Salamanca (1912) is a beautiful example of Sorolla’s fascination with regional costumes and his skill at recreating elaborate patterns and almost tactile texture. While Skipping Rope, La Granja is luminous with energy as sunlight dances on the water and children skip in the foreground. Sorolla’s own family appear in many of the pieces, such as Clotilde in a Black Dress which depicts his wife who often sat for her husband.

The final section of the exhibition concludes with some of the artist’s most epic canvases: large-scale land and seascapes that span up to three metres and radiate light.

The exhibition doesn’t just make the case for Sorolla; it puts him right back on the radar.

Evening Standard 

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18 March - 7 July 2019


The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
Charing Cross