Key Facts, Events, and Ideas
- If there is such a thing as natural talent, he had it in spades. He started practicing around the age of 9. By 15, he was accepted to theAcademy of San Carlos, and by his early 20s, he was painting masterpieces likeDefence of the Monteleon Artillery Barracks（以下）。
- One of his first major successes came in 1892 when再来一杯玛格丽塔（下面）首先位于马德里国家展览会，随后芝加哥国际展览会。它描绘了一个被捕的女人因谋杀她的孩子被当局运送而被捕。Sorolla实际上目睹了她被运送（来源)。There is a glimpse of her chained hands and the tense expression on her face. Take note of the subtlety here—Sorolla does not shove it down our throats!
- His style was unique, with influences from the Old Masters and his Impressionist contemporaries. He had this to say about Diego Velázquez in particular:
"If ever a painter wrought a miracle of illusion with brush and pigment that painter was Velazquez in his 'Las Meninas,' at the Prado in Madrid. Now, I have studied this picture with a lens, and what do I find? Why, that Velazquez got that marvelous atmospheric background by one broad sweep of his flowing brush, charged with thin color so thin that you can feel the very texture of the canvas through it. Nature, the sun itself, produces color effects on this same principle, but instantaneously. The impression of these evanescent visions is what we make desperate attempts to catch and fix by any means at hand. At such moments I am unconscious of materials, of style, of rules, of everything that intervenes between my perception and the object or idea perceived. No, mes amis, impressionism is not charlatanry, nor a formula, nor a school. I should say rather it is the bold resolve to throw all those things overboard."
"As far as outdoor work is concerned, a studio is only a garage; a place in which to store pictures and repair them, never a place in which to paint them."
- 1911年，他开始创作《西班牙的远景》，这是一系列由西班牙裔社会委托创作的大型绘画作品，旨在颂扬西班牙文化。它主导了索罗拉职业生涯的成熟期，大约需要8年的时间才能完成。Castilla(below) was the first in the series. And below that is one of his sketches done in preparation for the series.
- He died in 1923, after suffering a stroke three years prior. His house is now a museum (索罗拉博物馆）展示他的生命的工作。
索罗拉画的fast, usually outside and fashionably dressed. Perhaps the best description I have come across is that he painted "like a pig eats" (from a discussion on Wet Canvas)。
值得注意的是，圣索拉去了“伟大的长度，让它看起来很短暂”正如James Gurney所说的那样. There are numerous photos of Sorolla painting under the glaring sun with temporary walls, umbrellas, a giant easel, ropes and supports to brace the canvas, assistants, you name it. Anything but spontaneous...
The painting below gives you an indication of how he painted. The bleeding paint in the bottom left suggests he started with thinned paint and blocked-in the general color shapes, before refining the painting.
He workedalla prima (wet on wet)，使用大画笔来匹配大画布尺寸。但以这种方式绘画并非没有后勤方面的挑战：
"The great difficulty with large canvases is that they should by right be painted as fast as a sketch. By speed only can you gain an appearance of fleeting effect. But to paint a three yard canvas with the same dispatch as one of ten inches is well-nigh impossible.”
Color and Light
Sorolla used a bright palette, perhaps inspired by the Impressionists. At the very least, we know he was inspired by their use of violet with the following backhanded compliment:
For his outdoor paintings, his palette included cobalt violet, rose madder, all cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green, viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine, and lead white (according toCharles Sovek)。他的肖像调色板扩展to include black and earth tones.
The best way to learn and understand Sorolla's use of color is to see it in action.
Curious Child(below) is a stunning example of his ability to paint the illusion of light. You can almost feel the warm sunlight through the painting.
- There is a pleasing contrast between warm lights and cool darks.
"I hate darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have light enough in it. I agree with him. We painters, however, can never reproduce sunlight as it really is. I can only approach the truth of it.”
You can see Sorolla's fondness for violet in this painting. Also, take note of how rich the skin tones are—he seems to get away with using such strong colors without it coming across as jarring or overdone.
He paintedGaliciain his later years. What a beautiful play of color and activity. Thenegative space（暴露的水和山脉）特别重要，富蓝色和紫色拉动你并从繁忙的前景中休息。
Drawing was the foundation of Sorolla's skill set. It allowed him to paint so fast and fluently, whilst maintaining control. Here are some great examples of his drawing prowess:
Sorolla the Masterworks and the Paris Years
Nudeis a masterclass on how to paint fabric. It is amazing what Sorolla was able to do with just a few colors, a brush, and a canvas. As for the female figure, notice the use ofsoft edges突出曲线。
Motheris one of his more subtle works. A beautiful demonstration of balance and relativity.
My Familywas perhaps influenced by Velázquez'sLas Meninas, with the mirror reflection and the artist's inclusion in the painting.
Sorolla's landscapes and seascapes have an Impressionist feel, with broken color and fleeting brushwork.
Here are some key takeaways from Sorolla's life and work:
- Learn from master painters, as Sorolla did from Velázquez and, to a lesser extent, the Impressionists.
- Paint on large canvases to command attention and to free-up your style (small paintings can lead to tight and timid painting).
- Try working outside under sunlight and exposed to the elements. It worked for Sorolla.
- Painting fast at the sacrifice of control is a recipe for disaster. Sorolla was able to paint so fast because of his flawless technique.
- Challenge yourself—do not get caught up painting timid and simple compositions.
- Drawing is the foundation of realistic paintings.
(If you want to learn more about color mixing and painting in general, I invite you to join my free email course,7 Days to Better Paintings)。