On Monday 18 March 2019, the National Gallery in London launched the first major exhibition in the UK for over a century of the artist known as 'Spain’s Impressionist', Joaquín Sorolla. Titled ‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’, the exhibition will include portraits, and general scenes of Spanish life, as well as the landscapes, garden views, and beach scenes for which the Spanish artist is most widely recognised.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was born in Valencia in 1863 and began his initial art education at age nine under a succession of teachers until travelling to Madrid at age 18 to study master paintings in the Museo del Prado. Sorolla took further influence from time spent in Rome before moving back to Valencia to marry Clotilde García del Castillo, with whom he would go on to have three children. Although he is now recognised for his sun-drenched depictions of the life, landscapes and traditions of Spain, as well as his gifts as a portraitist, Sorolla first won an international reputation for major works tackling social subjects. Among his most famous works are Portrait of Dr. Simarro at the microscope, Sad Inheritance and A Walk on the Beach.

Now some of Sorolla's masterpieces are being exhibited in the National Gallery for the first time in over a century. One third of the paintings in ‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’ will come from private collections and another third will be generously lent by the Museo Sorolla, a small museum dedicated to the impressionist based in the house and garden that Sorolla designed and built for his family. The museum was created after his death in 1923 at the request of his family. The exhibition at the National Gallery has been organised chronolically across seven rooms, beginning with Sorolla’s early works of his favourite model; wife Clotilde. The second room focuses on the 1890’s when Spain witnessed a period of social unrest and Sorolla’s take on the realities and hardships of Spanish life. In adjacent rooms, there are examples of works that had been influenced by other Spanish artists such as Velázquez and Goya, in which Sorolla adopts a more finessed style celebrating his love of sunlight and the sea. The exhibition concludes with some of the paintings for which he is most fondly remembered, canvases of landscapes and gardens as well as the highlights of the artist’s obsession with depicting his family. This section of the exhibit includes one of his most innovative paintings in the form of ‘The Siesta’, which jumps off the canvas in fluorescent green shades encapsulating the lasting memory of Sorolla's vivid yet delicate style. 

‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’ will finish on the 7 July 2019.


Open to public: 18 March 2019

Daily: 10am–6pm (last admission 5pm)

Fridays: 10am–9pm (last admission 8.15pm)

Admission charge:Tickets from £14Members and under-12s (ticket required) FREE

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