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The Bath was one of the paintings which earned Sorolla international prominence. After it was exhibited at the Hispanic Society of America in 1909, the New York Times dubbed Sorolla a great modern master.
The painting depicts the wife and daughters of the artist enjoying their time at the Javea coast in Spain. To show the many hues of the water, the artist used vigorous strokes of paint. Sorolla used the impressionism style when creating this painting. It captured the ocean in landscape mode and used yellowing to bluish colours to depict the water and rocks. It is interesting to note that this was only one of the many painting done by Sorolla showing the seaside. He may have been fond of the beach because he was raised in the coastal town of Valencia.
The theme of children can be seen in many works by this artist, and whenever they are swimming, they are always shown naked. This style of art was quite popular at the turn of the century. Some of Sorolla’s icons were known for making nude paintings of children, which is probably why he picked up the theme. One of these artists was Mariano Fortunay. Mariano is known for the painting titled ‘The Painter’s Children in the Japanese Room,’ and this work showed his son nude but covered with a silk blanket. Another artist who influenced Sorolla is Ignacio Pinazo. Ignacio was among the most important painters in Valencia at the end of the 19th century, and he used the impressionism style. He is also known for being fond of nude art, and this can be seen in works like The Lineman and The Daughters of El Cid.
The Bath was completed in the oil on canvas medium. By the 20th century, this had become the dominant medium of art, although many artists also painted using watercolours. One key advantage of oil on canvas was the fact that the work lasted for a long time. Also, the paint took longer to dry, and that gave the artists some time to make corrections. Another key advantage of this art form was that it was flexible and exhibited a great depth of colour. Works like The Bath helped develop the legacy of Sorolla. He inspired many other Spanish painters, including Alberto Pla y Rubio and Julio Romero de Torres. Works which showed a great influence from Sorolla were later referred to as sorollistas. Most paintings by Sorolla were left to the Spanish public and ended up in museums and private collections. The Bath is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.