The National Gallery’s new exhibition is the first in the UK to focus on the work of Joaquín Sorolla.


Joaquín Sorolla, Sunny Afternoon at the Alcázar of Seville, 1910
Private Collection
Archivo fotográfico BPS

The Observer: *** “His painting is all effects, and concerned with effects. He is interested in the glint of patent leather, the transparency of gauze over cotton, above all the play of light on all sorts of surfaces. Occasionally this results in some real originality, as in his portrait of Clotilde and their newborn daughter as two dark heads adrift in an oceanic white bed, new stars of the sea. But generally it leads to a kind of luxury painting, richly calorific, joyously upbeat and too often glib.”

Evening Standard: **** “The exhibition doesn’t just make the case for Sorolla; it puts him right back on the radar.”

Time Out: *** “So Sorolla ends up being neither rigidly traditional nor particularly forward-thinking, neither exceptional nor awful, and in the process he gets a bit lost. He’s not a greatpainter, but he is a good one, with some great moments. Hey, we can’t all be Monets. Some of us have to be Sorollas.”

The Upcoming: **** “Reclining women, sunlit gardens, rippling fountains: a sense of languor suffuses this show. Sorolla may not be proved to be the best painter in the world, but his shimmering paintings of Spanish life certainly offer an inviting antidote to a grey London day.”

The Telegraph: **** “El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Sorolla, Picasso… So goes a list of top Spanish painters from across the centuries. Perhaps one of those five names, though, will stand out – Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) – and it’ll do so because, beyond Spain, he’s not really much known.”

The Times: **** “In an exhibition that feels as if it has arrived from the far-left field, we are reminded of this long-forgotten Valencian-born master.”

London Visitors: “this interesting exhibition provides evidence that Sorolla excelled in creating large canvases that takes viewers to the beach or other outdoor locations and captures the light, life and movement. In many ways it was when he came out of the shadows of Velázquez and Goya that he found his true voice that has some similarities with Impressionism.”

Culture Whisper: **** “It is immensely pleasurable to gaze upon these sun-drenched canvases which are brimming with Impressionist effervescence.”

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light is on display at the National Gallery until the 7th July.