JOAQUÍN SOROLLA. Painter of light



The exhibition is promoted and produced by the Municipality of Milano-Cultura, Palazzo Reale and CMS.Cultura

25 February  26 June 2022
Palazzo Reale, Milan

Curated by Micol Forti and Consuelo Luca de Tena


Entering Joaquín Sorolla’s studio is like approaching the sea and the sky; it’s not a door closing behind us; it’s a door that opens to the midday sun. Observing the paintings of this joyful Levantine, I feel an emotion deprived of thought; mute, deaf, and lost in an afternoon in the countryside.  […] It’s no use going to see Joaquín Sorolla’s paintings if your soul is filled with shadows and dreams. (..) You need to go to Sorolla with the word human in a heart awash with red.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, Sol de la tarde: pensando en último cuadro de Joaquín Sorolla, “Alma Española”, n. 18, 13.3.1904

For the first time in Italy a monographic exhibition retraces the rich, successful artistic production of the great Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Valencia 1863-Cercedilla 1923).

The exhibition will be open to the public from 25 February to 26 June 2022 and is promoted and produced by Palazzo Reale, Comune di Milano-Cultura and CMS.Cultura, curators Micol Forti and Consuelo Luca De Tena, scientific director Domenico Piraina, organised in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Museo Sorolla and the Fundación Museo Sorolla, which has graciously loaned a significant nucleus of works.

The project involves the cooperation of prestigious public and private museums such as Museo de Bellas Artes di Valencia, The Hispanic Society of America, New York, the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, the Musei Civici di Udine, and the Nervi Museums’ Frugone Collections, to mention just a few.

Little known to the Italian public, Sorolla was one of the most important representatives of modern Hispanic painting straddling the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, contributing significantly to its renewal and introducing it to the Belle Époque.

One of the most popular artists of his time because of his superb technique and humble, benevolent character, Joaquín Sorolla achieved fame that quickly went beyond national boundaries, receiving prestigious awards at important international exhibitions.

However, it was the Grand Prix, awarded in 1900 at the famous Paris Universal Exposition, that finally launched his colourful, luminous paintings on the international scene. In London, in 1908, he was acclaimed “the greatest living painter in the world”.  His extraordinary international success story often touched Italy; he made his first visit to Rome on a scholarship awarded in 1885 and stayed in Italy for quite some time, partly in splendid Assisi.

After that he happily returned many times, an assiduous participant in the Venice Biennial from its first edition in 1895, and an exhibitor at the famous Rome Exposition in 1911. This solo exhibition is therefore an excellent opportunity to tie the threads linking the grand maestro to Italy, a country of which he was fond, and a chance to present his outstanding art to a wide audience with some of the most significant masterpieces from his vast pictorial production.

The exhibition benefits from the Patronage of the Spanish Embassy in Italy, the Spanish Consulate Generale, Milan, and the Spanish Tourist Organisation. Gruppo Unipol is the Main Sponsor. Thanks to BPER Banca and all the other entities that have guaranteed support for the project.

Joaquín Sorolla. Painter Of Light displays approximately 60 works of art to narrate the extraordinary artistic evolution of this ambitious, determined painter who made art his reason for living.  Besides his deep love for painting, however, Sorolla had an even more intense love for his family, a favourite subject in his works.  In many of his splendid canvases, Sorolla depicts his love for Clotilde, wife, muse and life’s companion, and for his three children, María, Joaquín and Elena. It was a love that fired his inspiration and guided his research towards the ‘truth’ that he considered could be generated only by actual participation and intense emotion in the images he entrusted to canvas.

Sorolla’s artistic experience is intense and magnificent, comprising joy and suffering, satisfaction and research, where studies into light, strictly from life and en plein air, even for demanding subjects and large formats, are the highway to pictorial renewal expressed in immediate, refined and spontaneous language.


TAG: Exhibition