Sorolla Year: Three Museums To Pay Tribute To The Master Of Light

In this “Sorolla year”, three Spanish museums are paying tribute to Joaquín Sorolla, a painter known for his treatment of light, on the 100th anniversary of his death with exhibitions and retrospectives.

Three big Spanish museums are  focusing their annual programming on honouring Joaquín Sorolla, and making 2023 a Sorolla year. 

On the 100th anniversary of his death, in what is in Valencia declared as “Sorolla year”, the Prado Museum, the Fine Arts Museum of Valencia, and the Sorolla Museum in Madrid have planned numerous exhibitions, retrospectives, and analyses of the work of the Valencian painter, known for his treatment of light. 

The scheduled exhibitions follow a chronological order and will take place between Madrid, where the artist spent most of his time, and Valencia, his place of birth and centre of his inspiration. 

The activities honouring the painter in the Valencian Community are channelled through a commission coordinated by the Presidency of the Generalitat, with the participation of the Department of Culture and the Fine Arts Museum, whereas the majority in Madrid are led by the Ministry of Culture, owner of the Sorolla Foundation.

The Fine Arts Museum in Valencia aspires to be a reference for the painter, and starting from January 9th, it will coordinate three exhibitions in collaboration with other public institutions and the Bancaja Foundation (owner of works by the artist), while many other events in the city will be also organised throughout the year. The Prado, which owns many more works by the author, has pulled out numerous portraits from his early stage that were kept in storage.

The celebration of the centenary begins with the exhibition “Sorolla Origins”, a collaboration between the Sorolla Museum in Madrid and The Fine Arts Museum in Valencia. Its aim is to reflect on the beginning of Sorolla´s career. The exhibition analyses Sorolla’s first works from 1878 to 1884, just before his stay in Rome, one of the least known periods of the author.

It was in 1883 when Joaquín Sorolla began to be recognized with the medal of the Regional Exhibition of Valencia, at the beginning of his realist period, which would lead him a year later to obtain the Second Class Medal at the National Exhibition.

The beginnings of his career are shown through paintings, watercolours, drawings, photographs, and documents, a total of 70 works for the exhibition. The exhibition can be seen in Madrid until March 19th and in Valencia from March 30th to June 11th.. Among the lenders are institutions such as the Schools of Artisans, the Bancaja Foundation, the Valencia Provincial Government, the Abelló Museum of Mollet del Vallés, the Montserrat Museum, the Barcelona Provincial Government, the Fine Arts Museum of Murcia, the San Telmo Museum of San Sebastián, the Diocese of Salamanca, the Madrid History Museum, and the National Prado Museum, in addition to numerous private collectors.

The exhibitions will also showcase some completely unknown works. Last month, the Ministry of Culture announced the acquisition of three works by the Valencian painter to be incorporated into the museum that bears his name. These are the paintings “In the Inn,” “The Slave and the Dove. Nude,” and “The Offerer,” painted in 1883, when the artist was only 20 years old.

 “The early period of Sorollla´s work is fairly unknown to the general public as most of these works are in private collections,” the ministry pointed out, adding these three works to the Origins exhibition. 

At the same time, the Prado Museum acquired one of the portraits of Manuel Bartolomé Cossío, owned by the historian’s family, which had been exhibited in the Sorolla Museum, loaned temporarily.

During the summer, from June 29th to October 1st, visitors to the Fine Arts Museum of Valencia can enjoy an exhibition that will bring together all the works of Sorolla belonging to the Masaveu Collection, made between 1882 and 1917, three years before his death.

It is a selection made up of works of diverse themes and origins, which allow to understand his pictorial evolution and to understand the keys and contributions of his art through the different genres that he practised, in which the painter’s interest in the scenes of work at sea can be appreciated.

These are paintings from one of the most important private collections in Spain. All of them were purchased by Pedro Masaveu Peterson (1938-1993), promoter of the foundation which owns the greatest number of pieces by the Valencian artist, and is biggest and most important in the world, after the Sorolla Museum in Madrid and the Hispanic Society of America in New York.

Sorolla’s year promises to be exciting in both Madrid and Valencia. Aside from these exhibitions, many other exciting events will be held throughout the year.

© Sorolla Year: Three Museums To Pay Tribute To The Master Of Light –
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