On our Spain Lifestyle Art Lovers Trip to Toledo 2018, we were so very lucky to be able to witness some rare and remarkable paintings by our favourite Valencian master impressionist painter of light, namely Joaquín Sorolla.

We were at the Santa Cruz museum admiring all of the artefacts, expressive and religious fine arts, especially by the famous Mannerist icon El Greco and low and behold, a sign pointed to an upper gallery stating that an exhibition by Sorolla called "Tierra Adentro" (Inland Earth) was being featured; this way said the arrow! 

One of my students had spotted the exhibition first and was extremely excited when confronting me on the very fact that upstairs there was 68 works by Sorolla. "You are going to freak out," explained my student.

"El arcoiris" - El Pardo 1907 - (c) Sorolla Museum

* Report by Arts Historian and Educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (
* Copyright Karla Darocas 2018* (no part of this text or photos may be replicated)

I am very accustomed to Sorolla's impressive and intimate beach oriented artworks after teaching him for many years and enjoying the opportunity to live in his home province, but I was pleased to witness some artworks that I had never seen before. 

Out of the collection of 68 paintings showcased at this extremely amazing exhibition of Sorolla's, I have selected just a few that represent his refined knowledge of impressionism integrated with a particular aesthetic of the Spanish landscape. 

Spanish artists of this era were out to claim a new definition for the soul of Spain, one far removed from politics and realism. They found their expression in the Spanish landscape, especially old Castile and this is what they wished to present to the modern international world. 

Convento de el Parral (Segovia) . 1906
Sorolla studied at the School of Fine Arts in Valencia with Gonzalo Salvá, who introduced him to French realism, and Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench, who introduced him to the Italian "macchiaioli".
Later trips to Paris put Sorolla in contact with the realistic versions of "luminism," impressionism and post-impressionism, which he amalgamated into his own style. 

After the failed Revolution of 1868 and the colonial disaster, both the intellectuals and the contemporary artists like Sorolla looked for a new image of their country, far from historical representation.

They found their answer in the unique Spanish landscapes, from the planes to the mountains to the coastal areas.  In the geological aesthetic was a spiritualism that corresponded naturally with the European decadent taste. 

Sorolla put his stamp on the "Spanish landscape painting" by deepening its sense and meaning with  impressionistic light, colour and brushwork. He traveled from the then uninhabited Alhambra, to the lands around Segovia to the desolate fields stretching out in front of the mountains of Guadarrama. 

Sierra de Guadarrama . 1912
In Muros (Asturias) he joined a colony of pleinair, open-air, landscapers organized by the Asturian painter Tomás García Sampedro. With his family he would spend many summers in San Sebastián , Zarautz and Biarritz . In the north, he discovered the grayness of the light at the Bay of Biscay and the bright greens in the meadows of Asturias.

Herding Geese in the Asturias. 1903
He was inspired and befriend by the magnificent landscape painter Aureliano de Beruete. 
Sorolla, along with a whole generation of writers and artists discover the sublime character and poetic emptiness of Castile. 

He also painted the monumental cities of Toledo, Ávila , Burgos by focusing on the clouds, reflections, fountains, shadows, weather conditions and other transformations that naturally change their light and colors. 

"The region that has moved me the most, without making literature because I never do literature painting, is Castile There is a moving melancholy in Castile, things take on an extraordinary vigor there, a standing figure in that great plain takes on the proportions of a colossus." J. Sorolla, interview by Alejandro Pérez Lugín 

Sierra Nevada . 1910

Tormenta sobre Peñalara Segovia . 1906
Sorolla paints the Segovian plain and the highest peak of mountain Peñalara,
which is the highest in the Sierra de Guadarrama, turned colbalt blue due to the storm.

La Catedral de Burgos . 1910

La Catedral de Burgos . 1910

View of the Tagus River . Alcantara Bridge . 1912

View of Toledo . 1912

View of Toledo . 1912

San Juan de los Reyes (Toledo) . 1912

Bridge of San Martin, Toledo . 1912

Boat in Albufera . 1908