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Boys on the beach

Painting, 1909, 118×185 cm

Description of the artwork «Boys on the beach»

"The boys on the beach" — perhaps the most famous work of children conditional-beach series of paintings Joaquin Sorolla. Awards in various competitions he received for the large-scale canvases on historical and social themes, made most often in dark colors and realistic manner. But in the history of world painting Sorolla entered under the informal title "painter of light from Valencia thanks bright impressionistic paintings depicting his home town and its inhabitants.

The theme of children in water can be traced in the works of Sorolla since the turn of the century. In 1899, the artist painted "Sad legacy" (Grand Prix of the world exhibition in Paris in 1900, where he painted swimming in a sea of children affected by the epidemic of poliomyelitis in Valencia. To social issues he never addressed, but created a set full of light and joy paintings, heroes of which were frolicking in the water children ("Children on the seashore" (1903), "Midday on the beach in Valencia" (1904), "Sea idyll" (1908), etc.).

"Boys on the beach Sorolla wrote in 1909, during a three-month stay in Valencia. The artist came to his hometown after a long successful trip to the US (three solo exhibition in new York sold 195 paintings a portrait of President Taft in the White house) and selflessly worked in the open air.

The characters in the movie "Boys on the beach lying on the sand with no clothes on. To Sorolla theme of the Nude child's life in the open air has worked for other authors, including John Singer Sargent. Artists friends: Sorolla Sargent presented one of the sketches to the "tragic legacy", and Sargent, in turn, participated in the preparation of a personal exhibition Sorolla in 1908 in London, where he then lived.

In 2006-2007 in Madrid and Paris held a large exhibition of the works of the two authors, which traced, among other things, the mutual influence of painters. There is no doubt that in "Boys on the beach Sorolla significantly outperformed the American counterpart (comparable to a painting by Sargent "Nude boy on the beach").

The Spaniard was able not just to write a masterful wet naked body, "shimmering" in the sun. He created a very authentic scene on the beach that captures the children's sense of ease, and perfectly balanced composition. Sorolla as close spectators to the image, making a huge emphasis on the foreground and relegate the horizon beyond the painting. Our attention is focused on the boys, lying at the water's edge. The body nearest to the audience, situated on the diagonal that draws us inside the canvas. Turned a face shifts the focus of attention for a second, smiling boy, and finally, the eyes stop at the third child, which lies parallel to the upper border of the canvas.

The degree of relaxation in the postures of boys increases as the distance from the audience and increase the intensity of the colors: from the intense first child is pale with light hair, to the totally relaxed third — dark bronze-red tan. Sun glare on the ground, the very "dry", the boy transferred to a matte-white paint layers; the second, which is partly immersed in water, they are lighter and more intense; completely wet the boy in the background just shines in the sun.

Using the expressive — wide and long brush strokes of turquoise, blue, purple and mauve shades of the artist "catches" the movement of water around children. In addition, he expertly writes the shadows on the water and wet sand.

"The boys on the beach" — an example virtuoso transmission of light in the picture. Traditionally, the canvas relates to the impressionistic period of art Sorolla. However, his technique differs significantly from the techniques of French colleagues: the strokes sharper, the figures more realistic. The work clearly emerges individual style and confidence of a Mature master.

In 1919 Sorolla donated "Boys at the beach" Spanish Museum of contemporary art, and from there they in 1971 were transferred to the Prado. Curiously, a bright boy with this "skopipastil" artist Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky. Russian author, who also paid much attention to the child theme, put an exact copy of Korolevskogo of the child at the forefront of their work "Swimming horses" (1939).

Author: Larissa Kuzara
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Nude, Genre scene

Style of art: Impressionism, Luminism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1909

Size: 118×185 cm

Artwork in selections: 33 selections

Exhibitions history