(b. 1863, Valencia, d. 1923, Cercedilla)

The Beach at Valencia

Oil on canvas
Museo Sorolla, Madrid

Sorolla's approach to light and colour was rooted in the idiosyncratic Valencian school. Valencian art was notable for its efforts to capture the brief, passing moment by using rapid, unbroken brush-strokes and precision colourism. The vivid plein-air scenes, mainly Mediterranean, that the artists recorded in this style nonetheless preserved tonal unities, and might be better described as luminist than Impressionist.

Sorolla arrived at plein-air painting via years as apprentice and journeyman in Valencia, Rome and Paris. Returning to Spain in 1889, he settled in Madrid, where his art began to undergo a stylistic transformation: he attached greater importance to changing conditions of light, and preferred scenes of Spanish folk life, especially in Mediterranean coastal areas. The Beach at Valencia is a good example of this kind of work.

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