200709: Museo Nacional del Prado: Joaquín Sorolla (1863 – 1923)

Museo Nacional del Prado: Joaquín Sorolla (1863 – 1923) Spanish impressions Joaquín Sorolla (1863 – 1923) is well known for his lucid beach scenes - not only in Spain. Archer Milton Huntington commissioned the highly acclaimed artist to capture the essence of Spanish provinces in a huge mural painting for the Hispanic Society in New York. Between 1913 und 1919, before becoming partially paralyzed and never again able to paint, Sorolla created 14 huge canvases. His “Visiones de Espana” were shipped across the Atlantic and, following their extensive restoration, returned to Spain again in November 2007, where were displayed at the cultural centre Bancaja in Valencia and in circulating exhibition in numerous other Spanish cities. The Prado in Madrid now opened a large anthology of the artist, presenting 102 paintings of his entire oeuvre of 4.000 works including landscapes, portraits, and beach scenes. Dynamic compositions, lively colours and multi-faceted light reflections immerse even social topics and pure realism into harmonious narrations. He stayed loyal to naturalism in a typically Spanish way, despite all Impressionism. With the view of a photographer and his fast and secure realization, the Mediterranean artist equally masters gravitating portraits, landscape and flower paintings, and quiet everyday life scenes. The 14 “Visiones de Espana” are among the many works displayed, which are all either in the hands of international museums or private collections. The “Castilla. La fiesta del pan” spans over a width of 14 meters, while the other works of this series are somewhat smaller and measure 3,5 meters in height and between 2,30 and 7,60 m in width. “Castilla” depicts a collage of different villages in Castile and the traditional costumes of its inhabitants, which Sorolla joined in a “feast of bread”. It is comprised of seven canvases and mirrors the austerity of the Castilians, both by the choice of colours as well as by its structure, similar to the Basque melancholy conveyed in “Giupúzcoa: los bolos”. Dance and colourful motion dominate the Seville-scenes. The catching of tuna (Ayamonte), the cattle drive (Andalusia), and the pilgrimage (Galicia) seem to be able to convey the noise and the smell of the respective scenes. Despite the availability of many studies and photographs, Sorolla painted all of the canvases in situ. An achievement he successfully tackled with the help of unstable wooden frameworks and ladders. It was Huntington’s goal to deepen the knowledge about Spanish culture in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. A lively mediation became possible with Sorolla’s works, who had complete artistic freedom for the choice of his motifs. And even if today some viewers might prefer his intimist paintings to the folkloric scenes: the canvases are definitely powerful and beautiful. By Clementine Kügler Museo Nacional del Prado 28014 Madrid, Paseo Prado, until 06.09.09 www.museodelprado.es

Museo Nacional del Prado
28014 Madrid, Paseo Prado
Tel: +34 91 330 28 00
Email: museo.nacional@museodelprado.es
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-Sa 10-20h, So & Feiertage 10-19h

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