Sorolla: A master of light will bring sunshine to the National Gallery

Sorolla: A master of light comes back out of the shadows. Credit: Shutterstock

An exhibition at the National Gallery aims to revive the Spanish painter’s reputation.

Joaquín Sorolla was famed for his extraordinarily artistry of Mediterranean beach and coastal scenes, mostly painted out-of-doors around his home town of Valencia.

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He became popular in the century between Goya and Picasso, and then seemed to vanish. Sorolla was described as “the world’s greatest living painter”. Ironically, while Picasso was burning his canvases to keep warm in a Parisian garret, Sorolla was a feted superstar. On death, the roles reversed. And then unlike Picasso’s fame, Sorolla reputation dwindled.

Sorolla was wealthy and established and, as early as 1902, had been voted the most popular painter in Spain. However his famed international reputation faded into relative insignificance following his death in 1923,

Sorolla, Spanish Master of Light, organised jointly by the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Gallery, London – with input from the state agency for Spanish culture, the Museo Sorolla in Madrid, and the artist’s great-granddaughter – can be viewed as an exercise in rebranding the painter.

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light is at the Beit Wing of the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, until November 3rd.


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