REVIEW * CLASS TRIP * EXHIBITIONS * Sorolla Childhood & Paths of Modernity

The Bancaja Foundation exhibition of 86 paintings by Sorolla dedicated to childhood was wonderful. The exhibition rooms were spacious, and the walls were painted a muted grey so that the unique Mediterranean colours he used in his painting really stood out.

* Report by Karla Ingleton Darocas. Hons. B. A.  (

The theme of children was very special. His love for his own children and for the children of his clients was portrayed with fine realism. Of course, his brushstrokes were loose and flowing when he captured the background, be it waves or walls. 

There were many unfinished paintings, which I suspect were preliminary works to get a feel for the final product. Or maybe they were just meant to be left unfinished around the edges for effect. 

In any case, we had a lot of fun. I can actually say that today I have finally seen all of Sorolla's works. It took a few years, but today's exhibition put the cork in the bottle for me.

Paths of Modernity

For the same entrance fee, we were allowed to see the exhibition of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection. It was a retrospective of paintings from various movements from the second half of the 19th century to the 1980s, illustrating modernism as a constant evolution of artistic expression.

Indoor Outdoors, 1892

I was very excited when I saw some works of my personal favourites that I could not believe were there, and I felt very happy.

There were some works by my favourite Barcelona painter, Ramón Casas (1866 - 1932), who was the king of cool. He really knew how to make his subjects relax. Just look at how relaxed this gentleman is in his chair in this beautiful architectural space bathed in natural light. It gives you a sense of calm. 

Port of Barcelona, 1889

Eliseu Meifrèn (1858 - 1940) blew us away with his nocturnal paintings. Again, a painter from the Barcelona scene who had already witnessed the modernist festivals in Sitges and was a regular member of Barcelona's charismatic Els QuatreCats café, he paid particular attention to his Mediterranean beaches. Most of his paintings have to do with water and its reflections, as well as maritime themes, ports and ships.

His nocturnal paintings however, not only captured atmospheric changes such as clouds, but also explored chromatic reflections caused by the light on the water, in this case the light of the moon. The fact that he wanted to know about these nocturnal light changes would have been unthinkable for some of his colleagues from the luminist school.

Palma de Mallorca

Night Landscape, 1890

And finally, I was also excited to see the dramatic masterpiece by the Valencian painter José Navarro Llorens (1867 - 1923) called the Threat of Shipwreck, completed in 1894. He painted it at the beginning of his career, when themes of social realism were important, and here we see the economic problems faced by the fishermen at sea. The name of Llorens, a good friend of Sorolla, immediately came to mind, because he too came to Javea one summer to paint and ended up on Granadella beach.

Threat of shipwreck, 1894

There were so many other great paintings in this exhibition. We were not allowed to take photos at this exhibition either, so I got these photos from the World Wide Web. But we are so lucky that such great art exhibitions come to Valencia, because for us, it is only 90 minutes away.