Like Claude Monet’s celebrated plein air landscapes at Giverny, the paintings collected here are among the best-loved examples of Joaquín Sorolla’s (1863– 1923) work, and a window into the Spanish painter’s quest to capture the essence of a garden. Described by Monet as “the master of light,” Sorolla and his landscapes, formal portraits, and historically themed canvases drew comparisons to contemporary American painter John Singer Sargent. Sorolla had achieved renown on both sides of the Atlantic for grand scenes of Spanish life when he began a personal series of garden works, presented completely for the first time in this publication.
Painted at the palaces of La Granja and the Alcázar in Seville, the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, and at the painter’s home in Madrid (now the Sorolla Museum), these lush and colorful works allowed Sorolla to apply his signature loose brushwork and training as a photographer’s lighting assistant to gardens and the flowers, sculptures, architecture, and sitters that frame and animate them. Sorolla depicted reflections in fountains and pools, the sunlight dappling his glamorous sitters, sprays of orange blossoms nad roses, and shaded blue-and-white tile as he endeavored to render the radiant peace of a summer afternoon.
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