Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Sunlight and Shadows

Tonight, my mom, sisters and I had dinner with my mom's friend, Tita Celia. Though from Manila, she lives in Spain and when my sister studied there for some time last year, she took care of her and her fellow students. In fact, she takes care of so many of daughters and sons of friends who study in Europe! Including my cousin Anina and some family friends who were at the dinner too.

When we were in Madrid, she took us to an exhibit of the painter Joaquin Sorolla in the world famous Spanish national Prado Museum. Never before had his work been compiled in such a large quantity as we were able to see, and walking around the exhibit, I was only more and more stunned as I went further into every gallery. His scenes capture everyday Spanish provincial life, of farmers gathering crops, of fishermen pulling boats, and of women and children playing during the afternoon. But its his play with light and dark, with his highlight in the areas on which sunlight hits and shadows form that makes what would be commonplace images so stunning, so beautiful, so wonderful to be in the presence of. Not to mention, his work comes in such LARGE scales to say the least, measuring in canvasses of 12 by 14 feet at times.

Strolling Along the Seashore

After the Bath

Sewing the Sail

Some of my favorites. Imagine these rays of sunlight and shadows on a 14 foot scale!!


One of his smaller pieces in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a museum dedicated to modern art, situated very near the Prado, making up the Madrid Triangle of Art along with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemiza (my absolute 100% favorite museum ever!! More on that another time). I can't read the title in the picture though. :-S


My mom and Tita Celia in front of the Prado Museum promotion. We couldn't take pictures inside the exhibit of course, so we took them outside instead! Hahaha! This piece was part of the beach series he painted about the same time as Strolling Along the Seashore. The women in the painting are his wife and eldest daughter.


A painting of Seville, Spain, as part of a series called The Provinces of Spain, for the Hispanic Society of America. Only in the exhibit in the Prado were all the paintings in the series ever in Spanish soil together.

Try as I may to provide you with samples of his work, I don't think any picture could ever give justice to how marvelous I really believe they are. So if you ever ever get the chance to see his work, I trust you'll make the effort upon my recommendation. It would really be worth it!!


On the side of the museum.

Going to the Prado was easily one of the most memorable days of my life. Not only did I see Sorolla's paintings, but in the main part of the museum, I was able to see work by classical artists -- the ones I've only ever read about in history books and pretend to understand about in cultural references. Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Diego Velasquez, Francisco Goya, Paul Rubens... I was even able to see The Garden of Earthly Delights by Heironymus Bosch, a piece I had read about in class. I was starstruck if you could say so! Hahaha! :-)

Visiting museums, being in Spain, really made me feel like a part of the world. I love living in Manila; there's really no place like it. But being in a major city in the world, taking part and seeing culture that I had only ever heard of before was such an exhilarating and empowering experience. I should probably just save this for another entry, one that I'd been saving to talk about my Spanish trip in its entirety, but I just had to mention it as well. The Prado wasn't even my favorite place there yet and I'm already raving!

Leaving the Bath

I really love how he painted the see-through dress against the girl's thigh in this one. If only the sunlight hit us as gracefully here in Manila. Unfortunately, the summer heat has really gotten unbearable, don't you think?? Even Tita Celia thinks so.

Visit to see more of Joaquin Sorolla's work. :-)

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