Saturday, March 7, 2009


We went off to MNAC today, to see an exhibit by a Valencian painter, Joaquim Sorolla. Honestly I didn't expect much. I was wrong.

These paintings were spectacular.

They are HUGE paintings that normally live in New York City, at the Hispanic Society of America for whom they were commissioned in 1910 or so.

They are a series of enormous scenes of typical life throughout different regions of Spain.

One of the things I found fascinating was the depth of portraiture in what were essentially enormous almost stage sets. Huge scenes of activity and depth.

Here is a sample from one of the paintings.

This woman is just on an aside, one of a huge number of figures in a truely vast piece, yet it could stand entirely on it's own as a portrait. Entirely.

He also painted the portraits in varying levels of detail. Some of the faces are richly detailed portraits, while the one next to it is clear and obviously a face, but blurred, like the one above.

And these two women above.

I also love how he has captured the light. He has really completely painted the light on the subjects. Many artists did this, but I find that he is drawing with the light....

This Catalan is a rough portrait, but the use of light....

Here again, I am struck by the boldness of the light and the shadows. That is also typical of the light here though as well. I have a whole lot of photos I have discarded because the camera cannot handle the depth of the shadow and the startling stark brightness of the light in the same frame, not the way Sorolla can. At least not with me controlling the shutter.

He even drew with light in the sketches for the work, here below:

Hope I don't sound school marmish.....sorry. I just wanted to share what struck me about the work. The light and the intimacy.

That may be why I feel compelled to show you details from the paintings, though they were was the faces that finally caught my eye.


Anonymous said...

you *do* realize that you bear a striking resemblance to the first woman, there, don't you? :)

Anonymous said...

ummm... no you don't!!
sounds like a good day.

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

These are lovely. Wow.

mmichele said...

wow, indeed.

J.G. said...

Gorgeous! I love the details of the face versus the clothing and background. (Reminds me a bit of John Singer Sargent.)

Thanks for sharing--not schoolmarmish at all!

Beth said...

The first image? That woman reminds me of you – something about her eyes? Her mouth? (It’s been a while...)
Hope you take this as a compliment – it’s meant to be one!

Carla said...

I feel that way when I visit an art museum, too. It is an emotional response.

oreneta said...

elP, WOW! There's a compliment! Thank you...feeling quite delighted...I also find it kind of telling as it is the face and photo I liked best of the log.

JC, well...what can I say, I can see what you mean too.

Bodhi, they are lovely, if you go down to NYC once they get back....

Mmichele, they may still be on display when you get here, and as an added bonus, the show was free!!!

JG, I really really like some of Sargent's work, and yes, I have to agree.

Beth, I do indeed take it as a compliment....I think we will have to try and get together again this has been a while. is isn't it...I love going to the galleries. I love checking out the technique as well.

swenglishexpat said...

Very impressive paintings. I think light is all-important in a painting. Without it, it falls flat.

oreneta said...

Swenglish, I so agree...Sorolla is luminous, but other painters, like Rembrandt were absolute MASTERS at light...I so agree.