Master From The Past – Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Sorolla, born 1863 in Valencia, Spain and orphaned only two years later, is one of the most prolific landscape and portrait painters of all time.

The basis of Sorolla’s masterful technique came from his drawing skills learnt in his childhood by tirelessly copying books. He was winning major prizes at the age of 15 for his paintings and by the turn of the Century he went on to be one of, what many consider, the western worlds greatest artists. His approach to both drawing and painting was speed. He once said, “I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly. Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.”

Sorolla would produce hundreds of paintings each year. In 1909 the Hispanic Society of America hosted a show of his work whereby 356 paintings were hung and 195 of them were sold. It saw an astonishing 160,000 visitors in the first month.

Renowned for his expressive brush marks he was able to create a thick and textural richness to his paintings which compels and draws us in. He had such a unique way of controlling light which was shown through his beautiful colour choices both for his indoor and outdoor palette.

One can only presume Sorolla would have used European bristle, which though his brush choice cannot be certain, I would support a friend of mine Tom on his assertion, after much research, due to his thick strokes which could be controlled, and pushed around more easily with the use of a filbert. Sorolla’s legacy has continued to live on through his collection known as the Museo Sorolla, the artists former house in Madrid. I would love to visit there someday.

To learn more about Sorolla visit Thomas Kitts blog at:

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