Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida

Known as « the painter of light », Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923), is one of the main figures in the history of Spanish art and one of the most internationally famous painters of his time. He is most known for his impressionism inspired paintings, portraying both the Spanish people and landscapes under the bright sun.
Sorolla’s art education started quite early. He began his first art lessons at just age 9. By age 14, he was enrolled in an art school in his hometown of Valencia. At 18, Sorolla moved to Madrid to further his education and study the masters such as Velasquez, El Greco and Goya at the Museo del Prado. In 1905 he moved to Jávea, a small coastal town near Valencia where he painted his most iconic series. Many of these often-large canvases, were executed in ‘plein- air', as evidenced by the grains of sand embedded in their densely painted surfaces. His works were exhibited in Munich, Paris, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Venice, and as far as Buenos Aires. In 1895, his painting 'Return from Fishing' (now at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris) was purchased by the French state and collectors such as J. Paul Getty acquired various of his paintings. In 1912, Sorolla received his most ambitious commission to date, from the Hispanic Society of America, to paint a series of canvases to decorate their library. The result, ‘Vision of Spain’, became an all-consuming project for several years. It comprises 14 huge canvases depicting the regional costumes and customs of the major provinces of Spain.In 1920, Sorolla suffered a stroke and died three years later. His body was transported in a cortège by train from Madrid to Valencia, he was there buried as a National hero.

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