Joaquín Sorolla was a painter I recently discovered, and I fell in love with his work the moment I lay my eyes on one of his paintings. I wanted to share it with you as well. Although Sorolla is quite famous in Spain, it is unfortunately not recognised enough in other parts of the world. After seeing his paintings, I couldn’t figure out the reason why. Such a painter, who transfers light to the canvas as no one can, should be known everywhere.

Sewing the Sail – Joaquín Sorolla, 1896 – 1896
Sewing the Sail – Joaquín Sorolla, 1896 – 1896

A painter with sun in his brush

Joaquín Sorolla was born on 27 February 1863 in Valencia, Spain, and lost his parents when he was only two years old. His relatives raised him and his sister. Thanks to his ability to paint, at a young age he began to receive education in this area. He received a scholarship when he was twenty-two years old and studied painting in Italy for four years and stayed in Paris for a while. Returning to Valencia in 1888, he married Clotilde García del Castillo, whom he had met when he was young, and they moved to Madrid. In 1895, they already had three children, and the painter was now winning prizes in various countries, and his paintings were in international exhibitions.

His first major success came when he won an award in Madrid and Chicago for his painting Another Marguerite (1892). In 1894, his painting The Return from Fishing was so well received in Paris Salon, that the state bought it for Musee du Luxemburg.

The Return from Fishing – Joaquin Sorolla, 1894
The Return from Fishing – Joaquin Sorolla, 1894

My husband and I spent minutes in front of this painting. It is so charming that one can even hear the sound of the sea, the sails, and the breadth of people. Unfortunately, the photo of it does not do justice.

Sad Inheritance and success after it

One of the paintings that brought the painter his reputation was his work Sad Inheritance, which he made in 1899. This picture is about the disabled children swimming under the supervision of a monk in Valencia. The artist won the medal of honour in Paris in 1900 and Madrid in 1901. While he was working on this painting, he also presented his two oil paintings to John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase. Another feature of this picture is that the painter stopped painting social themes after this.

In 1906, his private exhibition at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris cast a shadow over all previous achievements, and he was awarded the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest-ranking civilian rank. The painter who has nearly 500 works in the exhibition fascinated the critics, and he has achieved great success in financial terms as well. Invited to New York in 1909, the artist exhibited 356 paintings, of which 195 were sold. Sorolla spent five months in the US after this success and depicted more than twenty portraits including the American president William Howard Taft.

The Skipping Rope – Joaquín Sorolla, 1907
The Skipping Rope – Joaquín Sorolla, 1907

Museo Sorolla

In 1920, while he was painting one of his clients in his garden, the painter had a stroke, and just three years later he died. After his death, his wife, Clotilde Garcia del Castillo, left most of his paintings to Spain, which helped to establish the Museo Sorolla. Opened in 1932, the museum is located in the artist’s house in Madrid.

If you want to take a look at the painter’s works, you can visit Google Arts and Culture: Sorolla, WikiArt: Sorolla.

And why not check out Mist by the Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno. It is one of a kind!

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