The first major exhibition in Portugal of the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923), considered a “master of intense light”, is inaugurated today in the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) in Lisbon, with 118 works.
“Terra Adentro – The Spain of Joaquín Sorolla” is the title of this exhibition of “an extraordinary painter, but little known in Portugal, and the MNAA has always wanted to expose“, stressed the director of the museum, António Filipe Pimentel, in the guided tour to the journalists held on Wednesday.
In the works that are part of the artist’s show born in Valencia, – almost entirely from the Sorolla Museum in Madrid, with three more private collections in Spain – predominate the landscapes that he liked to paint outdoors during his travels in Spain, at the turn of the 19th century to the 20th century.
Nature goes through the works on display, but in addition to the landscapes, there are also paintings of everyday life, big cities like Toledo, the sea and the beaches, with scenes of summer jokes for children and young people, and there is a room dedicated to works of ethnographic character, which reveal rural Spain and its aesthetic nationalism, of regionalist inspiration.
According to the curator of the exhibition, the researcher Carmen Pena, this exhibition “is about the beauty of the pictures of Sorolla, revealing a culture, and a certain time in Spain.”
“He moved in a circle of regionalist artists, who at the time, had great importance, and looked for the pure landscape of the interior,” said the researcher, remembering that Sorolla liked to paint outdoors in large screens.
He also emphasized that the Spanish artist – considered one of the great figures of modern European painting – achieved great international success early in his career, when he first exhibited in a gallery in Paris with 450 paintings, a success that would be repeated in exhibitions in the U.S.
This exhibition was presented at the Sorolla Museum in Madrid in 2016, but for MNAA a larger version was created with new cores and pieces, with the aim of giving the Portuguese public a more comprehensive image of the artist’s work.
The exhibition opens today, at 18:30, and opens to the public on Friday, becoming patent until March 31, 2019.
The exhibition is organized by an agreement between the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Spain, and the Sorolla Museum Foundation.