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Sorolla, Master of Light: London Tate discovers Spanish Impressionism
25 March 2019 @ 13:34

LET’S be honest: how many of you could name one single Spanish Impressionist painter? Monet, Sargent, Rénoir, Délacroix immediately spring to mind when you picture the pastel-coloured, light-reflecting landscapes of post-Enlightenment Europe; classical, Renaissance, cubist and surrealist artists from Spain are not hard to list (Goya, El Greco, Dalí, Picasso, Velázquez, and so on). But Impressionists?

Benlliure and Sorolla are two of the greatest masters of this era and both are from the Valencia area, and were considered some of the most iconic artists of the so-called Generation of ’98, a cultural movement which emerged during a time of financial, political and social crisis at the end of the 19thcentury. The former’s house, complete with the whole family’s works on display, is in Valencia city, and the latter’s eponymous museum is in Madrid, the capital of the region where he died at just 60 years of age in 1923.

Despite his short time on our planet, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida spent it wisely – in less time than it takes a modern-day human to be born, educated, work and retire, he’d churned out over 2,200 paintings, meaning that the newly-opened exhibition at the London Tate Gallery, sizeable though it is with 58 of his works on the walls, is only a fraction of what he produced over the turn of two centuries.

And although Sorolla was as famous as his French contemporaries, you’ll be hard-pushed to find anything of his on show in any public exhibition in the UK – until now.



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