Sorolla Centenary Exhibitions in Madrid

Commemorating the centenary of Joaquín Sorolla’s death (1863-1923), Madrid pays homage to the artist who uniquely captured and broadcasted light in his paintings, spanning from Valencia to global cities like Rome, Paris, and New York.

Encountering Master Joaquín Sorolla

Born in 1863 in Valencia, Sorolla embarked on his artistic journey at an early age. His mastery of light and ability to capture the essence of his subjects infused his paintings with unparalleled vitality and energy.

His portrayals, especially those of King Alfonso XIII and his kin, are noted for their insightful depiction of personality.

Sorolla, a seminal figure in Spanish Impressionism and the Belle Époque era in Spain, after studying fine arts, began gaining recognition in competitions.

In 1884, his piece “The Cry of Palleter” won him a scholarship, leading to his artistic development in Rome.

Painting by Joaquín Sorolla

Painting by Joaquín Sorolla

Joaquín Sorolla’s Artistry

Sorolla’s work made a significant impact on the Spanish art scene in the late 19th century, with a focus on Spanish landscapes, the Mediterranean, and genre scenes.

His practice, often conducted outdoors, led to various commissions across Madrid, Europe, and New York, mirroring the Impressionist ethos.

Temporary exhibition "Sorolla. Origins"

Throughout his life, Sorolla garnered numerous awards, with his artworks gracing prestigious galleries and museums worldwide.

Today, his oeuvre continues to be celebrated for its beauty and its evocative capture of light and moment.

Legacy and Exhibitions

Following Sorolla’s death, his widow, Clotilde García del Castillo, bequeathed their estate to establish a museum in his memory, now known as the Sorolla Museum in Madrid.

Photograph by Joaquín Sorolla

Photograph by Joaquín Sorolla

Housing a vast collection of his works, the museum also features gardens designed by Sorolla and will present the “Joaquín Sorolla in front of the sea” exhibition by Manuel Vicent.

El grito del Palleter

El grito del Palleter

The Sorolla Museum offers a glimpse into the artist’s formative years through the “Sorolla. Origins” exhibition, revealing personal insights and his artistic evolution from 1878 to 1884.

Portrait of Woman (Joaquín Sorolla)

Portrait of Woman (Joaquín Sorolla)

Information of interest about Sorolla. Origins

    • When: From 20 December 2022 to 19 March 2023
    • Where: At the Sorolla Museum

Museo del Prado: Chicos en la playa, 1909 - Donado por Sorolla al antiguo Museo de Arte Moderno en 1919

Madrid Royal Palace: “Sorolla through Light”, an immersive digital exhibition

At the Royal Palace of Madrid, the immersive exhibition “Sorolla through Light” provides a novel approach to experiencing the artist’s work, blending virtual reality, sensory rooms, and original artworks to create a comprehensive sensory journey through Sorolla’s legacy.

This initiative, part of the centennial commemorations, invites visitors to delve into Sorolla’s innovative use of light and color, offering a vivid encounter with the artist’s vision and technique.

Starting from 17 February, a unique exhibition opens, featuring a mix of virtual reality, sensory environments, and 24 of the artist’s original pieces, recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Sport as an Exceptional Event of Public Interest (AEIP).

In collaboration with the Fundación Museo Sorolla and Light Art Exhibitions, the Royal Palace presents a novel experience that blends visual and auditory elements to create an immersive atmosphere.

The exhibit showcases lesser-known Sorolla artworks, many from private collections, offering a deeper insight into the artist’s legacy.

Located in the Genoa Rooms of the Royal Palace, the exhibition combines digital animations with Sorolla’s actual paintings, enhancing the dynamism, brightness, and luminosity of his art.

"Sorolla a través de la Luz", Exposición sobre el centenario de Sorolla en los Salones de Génova del Palacio Real

This exhibition will be exhibited in the Genoa Rooms of the Royal Palace, mixing digital recreations with original works, adding movement to the colours, vividness and light of his paintings.

The exhibition “Sorolla, through light” has been organized to commemorate the centenary of the death of the painter, who was influenced by Impressionism, in 1923, and it is planned to continue until the end of June.

The “Sorolla through light” exhibition includes large-scale LED displays and virtual reality setups, offering a distinctive perspective on the life and artistic journey of the celebrated painter.

Ana de la Cueva, the current head of Patrimonio Nacional, stated that the exhibition is designed to highlight Sorolla’s groundbreaking treatment of light and his inventive style.

“Sorolla’s technique in capturing the light of the Mediterranean and its landscapes was utterly groundbreaking for his era” she remarked.

Among the notable works is “Children on the Beach”, housed at the Museo Nacional del Prado since 1909.

Joaquín Sorolla, Chicos en la playa1909

Work by Sorolla, “Children on the Beach” at 1909

As a curiosity, despite the large size of the canvas, the scene was painted directly from life on the Valencian beach of Cabañal.

The artist depicts the reflections of the water and the shadows with broad yellow, tan and mauve brushstrokes.

The series on the childhood of the late Joaquín Sorolla features works such as “Running on the Beach“, Valencia 1908.

Exposición: Sorolla a través de la Luz

The novel immersive experience showcases 24 authentic pieces, some privately owned and infrequently displayed publicly, alongside two sensory rooms and a seven-minute virtual reality journey.

Similar to exhibits on Picasso and Van Gogh, these sensory spaces feature wall-to-wall LED screens animating Sorolla’s artwork through paintings, sketches, historical newspapers, photos, and the artist’s own handwritten notes, all set to engaging music.

  • In the virtual reality space, attendees don headsets to virtually visit Valencia’s Malvarrosa beach, experiencing an interactive painting session in the style of Sorolla.
  • They are then virtually taken to Sorolla’s Madrid home studio, enveloped by floating artistic tools and canvases, with an opportunity to create art in mid-air.

Blanca Pons-Sorolla, the artist’s great-granddaughter and exhibition co-curator, describes the exhibition as a triptych experience designed to evoke the emotions Sorolla felt while painting, highlighting the emotive power of the LED displays in conveying the artist’s perception and mood during his creative process.

Sorolla immersive virtual exhibition

Sorolla immersive virtual exhibition

The installation is the work of Karmachina Studio, which produces and directs this immersive multimedia experience, all supervised by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, a true pioneer in this type of installation (his works travel from Tokyo to New York).