Spain • 1863−1923
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida) was born at a time when the golden age of Spanish painting, like the Spanish crown, was already in the past. He was not destined to become a court painter, to perpetuate the next monarch and paint the famous temples. Instead, Sorolla painted his family, fishermen, children, and created for the museum in the United States huge panels depicting scenes of village life in the provinces of Spain. He is not among the great ones as Velazquez and Goyato scandalous glory Picasso and Dali he is too far away. In the history of national and world painting the impressionist Sorolla has its own special place.

Boy from valencia

The future painter was born in Valencia in the family of a merchant. When Joaquin was two years old, and his sister Conchita was only one, their parents died of cholera. Children were taken up by aunt and her husband. Locksmith Jose Picuares from childhood tried to attach Joaquin to his work, but when he saw that the boy had the ability to draw, he did not put pressure on him.

At age 14, Joaquin began to attend drawing lessons at the School of Crafts, and at 15, receiving a box of colors from his uncle as a gift, he entered the School of Fine Arts of Valencia. Teachers saw talent in Sorolla, but one talent was not enough: painting at all times was an expensive pleasure, and it was increasingly difficult for Picacheres to cover his nephew's expenses. To pay for his studies, the young man began to paint for sale.

The further life of Sorolla — not only creative, but also personal — was determined by chance. Joaquin sold one of his paintings for a hundred reals to the owner of a local antique shop. The benefit was dubious, because the businessman gave half of the amount of unwanted junk. But one day, the famous photographer Antonio Garcia Peris entered the shop. He was so fascinated by the painting of Sorolla that he didn’t just buy the work, but found out all about the author, found him and began to patronize, in particular, he paid for consumables for painting. In the workshop Perisa Joaquin met his daughter Clotilde Garcia del Castillo - his future wife.

The first steps

At age 18, Sorolla went to the capital. He copied the paintings of Velázquez, Ribera, El Greco in Prado and sent his work to various exhibitions - at first unsuccessfully. And now, finally, the first serious award - the silver medal of the national exhibition in Madrid in 1884. Later, Sorolla admitted that he had calculated everything: while painting "Defense of the artillery battery of Monteleon" (1884) he relied on the then monumental monumentality (4 x 5.8 m) and the historical and dramatic theme. "To become famous and get a medal here, you need to portray the dead. "- he said to a friend.

A year later, the artist presented a picture "Scream Palletera" (1884), devoted to the heroic episode of the history of Valencia - the resistance of Napoleon's troops in 1808. The authorities of his native city noticed the talent and sent him to the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

During his studies, Sorolla made a "raid" to Paris - a city that was considered the capital of world painting. Most of all he was impressed by the paintings of the naturalist. Bastien-Lepage and realist von Menzel. But he wrote in a similar technique canvas "The Burial of Christ" (1887) caused a scandal in Valencia. Devout Catholics were outraged by an overly “humane” image of biblical characters. Critics also criticized the work for excessive naturalism. The hype quickly subsided, but the artist in a fit of rage destroyed the "Burial of Christ." Now in the Museum of Sorolla are stored four fragments of the picture, which experts were able to restore in 1979.

In the late 1980s, the artist traveled to Paris again. At the World Exhibition, he became acquainted with the work of northern and Russian artists (Makovsky, Aivazovsky, Kramskoy) that transmitted light in a special way. The palette of Sorolla itself began to gradually "enlighten".

International success

In the next decade, Sorolla became a recognized artist and received a lot of awards. "The Other Margarita" (1892), the plot that was inspired by Goethe's Faust, won the "gold" at the exhibition in Madrid and the first prize of the exhibition in Chicago. She remained in America - bought the canvas, and later transferred to the Museum of the University of Washington (St. Louis). Picture "Return from fishing" (1894) noted the silver medal of the Paris Salon and also bought - for the Luxembourg Museum.

Innovative paintings "Portrait of Dr. Simarro with a microscope" and "Scientific research" (both - 1897), presented in Madrid, immediately dubbed masterpieces. These works - the top of the naturalistic painting of Sorolla. On them, the artist as accurately as possible recreated on the canvas the laboratory of his friend Louis Simarro and the atmosphere of scientific research.

Glory, rattling across Europe, secured the canvas "Sad legacy" (1899). On it, Sorolla depicted bathing in the sea of children who became disabled as a result of the polio epidemic in Valencia. "Sad legacy" brought the Sorollais Grand Prix of the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, as well as the title of holder of the Legion of Honor.

In 40 years, Joaquin Sorolla was already considered the main Spanish contemporary artist.

Light artist

After the "Sorrowful Heritage" Sorolla left social themes. He focused on paintings with timeless plots, inspired by the images of the Spanish Levant. The sun-drenched coast of Valencia, waves beating on the shore, children frolicking in the water, fishermen going out to sea under white sails, clothes flowing in the wind. The artist learned to transmit light fantastically: he skillfully wrote out glares on the foliage, water, clothes, dark bodies of bathing children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

“Art has nothing to do with ugly and sad ... Light is life for all that you touch, therefore, the more light there is in painting, the more alive, truthful and more beautiful it is”- the artist will write in 1912.

Unlike the French Impressionists, the strokes at Sorolla are clearer, and the figures of people are more naturalistic. With his "colleagues in style," he is bound by a slight understatement of outlines in the paintings.

Filled with ease and joy of work, the public was very warm. The first major (about 500 works!) Solo exhibition of the artist was held in Paris in 1906. At the same time, Soryol was “promoted” to an officer of the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Family and dream house

The only love and one of the main models of Sorolla was Clotilde (1, 2, 3). In a famous work "My family" (1901) the artist depicted his wife with children Maria, Joaquin and Elena, and at the same time his reflection in the mirror. Critics saw in the work hi "Meninam" Velazquez. For one of his most famous paintings - "Walk along the seashore" (1909) - again posed Clotilde and the eldest daughter Maria.

For a long time the family did not have a home. In 1905, Sorolla was able to buy land in Madrid, but not enough money to build. Money was found unexpectedly - on the other side of the Atlantic.
In 1908, in London, where his exhibition was held, Sorolly was introduced to the magnate and philanthropist from the United States, Archer Huntington. He just founded Spanish Society of America in New York. A year later, in the New World, an exhibition of Sorolla was held, for which almost 350 paintings were delivered across the ocean. 195 of them bought out! Having stayed in America for half a year, the artist painted about 20 portraits to order, including the then president William Taft.

In 1911, Sorolla finally built his dream house, a two-story mansion surrounded by a large garden that reminded him of the courtyards of Andalusia.

Views of Spain

In the same year, Huntington proposed Sorolla to create a series of large paintings about Spain to decorate the building of society in New York. It was supposed that these would be works on historical themes, but Sorolla proposed to write the series “Views of Spain” and reflect the life of different parts of the country in it.

14 panels, the height of each - from 3.5 to 4 meters, total length - 68 meters. Navarre and Catalonia, Valencia and Seville, Castilla y Leon - Sorolla strolled all over Spain, attended folk holidays, made sketches. In the center of the composition he placed the inhabitants dressed in bright clothes. In addition to the cultural identity of the regions, he sought to convey their nature (1, 2, 3).

Sorolla Museum

The last panel of Sorolla completed and sent to America in 1919. The artist did not see the result of his titanic labor. The hall of the Spanish society, decorated with paintings of Sorolla, was discovered only in 1926, when the author was no longer alive.

In 1920, Sorolya, right behind the easel, struck a stroke. The last three years of his life he was immobilized. Biographers believe that the years of numerous trips and intensive work were the cause of the strike - the artist’s creative legacy includes more than two thousand canvases.

Stored work in the family Clotilde gave the state. In 1932, the Sorolla Museum was opened in the house of the artist. Joaquin Jr. became its first director - that was the condition of the widow. The daughters of Sorolla followed in her father's footsteps: Maria became an artist, and Elena became a sculptor.

As early as 1899, Joaquin Sorolla was given the title “Favorite Son of Valencia”. And in 2011, the city authorities called the name of their famous countryman a new railway station.

The author: Larisa Kuzora
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