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Salon painter Joaquín Sorolla : master of light

In 1908, the London art dealer Grafton praised an exhibition under the patronage of the Spanish Royal couple as one of the "greatest living painter in the worl

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Salon painter Joaquín Sorolla : master of light

In 1908, the London art dealer Grafton praised an exhibition under the patronage of the Spanish Royal couple as one of the "greatest living painter in the world". Mag was the mere advertising, there was Consensus that the Spaniard Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) was one of the leading contemporary artists. As Sorolla has appeared in the following year, in New York, was one of his exhibition 160000 visitors, and a whopping sold 195 works.

110 years later, you have to spell the name. In Spain you get to know him, but also as a historical size, and not more than an aesthetic scale. Sorolla painted in the opulent style of the fed from impressionism and Academy alike, and and to 1900 in a variety of gradations in all the Western countries. On the part of Germany you might think of Max Liebermann; closer still, Sorolla, American, living in Europe society painter John Singer Sargent and his close friend, the Swede Anders Zorn. Anger painted for its part, American sizes such as the 27. U.S. President Howard Taft was sitting in turn also Sorolla model.

in this fine sphere to penetrate, and to be with his painting really rich, it took a very goal-oriented career. It took a whole series of paintings, which made a Sensation, and the name of the artist in the world also contributed. The retrospective, which hosts the National Gallery in London, the Spaniard, now under the title of "The Spanish masters of light" – the first exhibition in London announced since 1908.

large formats to social issues

You can call it on the one hand, courageous on the excellence of Western painting subscribed to the house, such as the National Gallery puts one in the history books, which have fallen artist. You can on the other hand, point out that the Director of the Museum, in spite of his Italian Name, British-born Gabriele Finaldi, has always been an admirer of everything Spanish and for some years at the Madrid Prado has worked, before he took over in 2015, the London chief post. In any case, the Spanish Queen Letizia travelled specially for the opening, on which occasion also Prince Charles showed the plays as a patron of the National Gallery, a Position as weiland Kaiser Friedrich through Berlin's museums.

That was, of course, of all the best advertising for an exhibition, from which the English mass media would not otherwise have taken, alike note. But what remains after the Royal appearance? Now, Sorolla is representative of the wide flow of art around 1900, which supplied a middle-class audience with skillful painting, as well as with some pleasant, some offensive topics. Sorolla was with large-scale formats to societal issues, famous. His extensive later production was mainly in bright scenes with white-clad ladies on the beach or in the lush nature. Sorolla painted at the beginning, a child murderer on the way to the court; a group of physically disabled young, accompanied by the prison priests to bathe in the sea; the hard work of the fishermen of his native city of Valencia.

Inspired by Velázquez

Especially since this "return from fishing" is a compositional masterpiece, moreover, of a picturesque delicacy of the play of light and reflections – was something for which Sorolla time life famous. The three to four-Meter picture was considered at the Paris Salon of 1895, with a gold medal and then by the French state purchased.

The cheerful large-format of the "Sail-makers" on the other hand, an Etude of White in White, was initially criticized because of its Ease, but then made at the Venice Biennale in 1905 impression and was purchased by the city for its Museum of Modern art in Ca'Pesaro.

from Now on, Sorolla was in demand as a portrait artist. So he painted with reference to Velázquez, the first Spanish Nobel prize winner of 1904, Jose Echegaray. His three children, he was in a large format that was intended from the outset for exhibition tours, and the artists who desired recognition as the corresponding orders entered.

In this portrait he comes to the peers Sargent picturesque very close, and the London audience understands a related note, preserved in the Tate Gallery, with a comparable painting by the American Ex-Pats. Then, Sorolla painted again and again, scenes on the Beach; some, like "The young fisherman" of 1904, with a quiet social commentary: while the fishing boy carries his catch to the beach, bathing in the Background, the descendants of the leisure class, the estimated but Sorollas pictures so much.

be A good opportunity to exchange of Aesthetic thinking

It is hard to say why exactly the star of this painting fell. The reference to the Sorollas compatriot Picasso does not help, even if the triumph of cubism is associated from 1910 onwards, with the decline of the Bravura painting of Sorolla & co.. Because, of course, the collectors of the older Spaniard non-went over with flying colors to the younger ones.

Rather you have to call the (First) world war that shook the world of the Bourgeoisie, in the Sorolla in every respect had arrived, so sustained, that it was then of opulence and ostentation are not really enjoying anymore. In this respect, the London exhibition, the success of which we must make in the light of the popularity of the house with no thoughts, a good opportunity to discuss the changing aesthetic preferences, the change of the taste to think. This would have been the intention of the hispanophilen Director, it could result in a very different and possibly more exciting than this because rather culinary exhibition and must.

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London, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, to 7. July. Catalog GBP 25. – See more at

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